THE POSITIVE PARADIGM
The Old-New Perennial Philosophy
If we’re to solve the problem that’s confronting the world today, we will have develop a new mythology. The old myths are no longer serving us. We don’t have a mythology for people recognizing the humanity of a person on the other side of the hemisphere. I’ve often wondered if some of the notions coming out of quantum physics, quantum interconnectedness, don’t express that. — Joseph Campbell. The Power of Myth
Chances of success in life are slim to none without an accurate reality map. It’s imperative to have a complete picture of your potentials along with a correct understanding of the world around you, and what’s required to survive in that world. Basing decisions on a worldview that’s distorted, incomplete or otherwise out of synch with the way things really are seriously diminishes chances of survival. In times as dangerous as these, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re operating on complete and correct information.
But, as comparative religion legend Joseph Campbell observed, traditional creation stories no longer serve us well. We urgently need a new, more inclusive reality map, one people worldwide can easily comprehend and agree upon.
The Positive Paradigm model meets these requirements. It pictures an elegantly simple yet complete and correct reality map that accords with the way life truly is. It meets the Occam’s Razor standard: maximum inclusiveness with greatest simplicity. It has the power to give life travelers, wherever their journey starts, a new vision of life’s possibilities and with it, a realistic hope of survival.
Solving Campbell’s Dilemma
The Positive Paradigm solves Joseph Campbell’s dilemma, “We don’t have a mythology for people recognizing the humanity of a person on the other side of the hemisphere.”1
It’s not “myth” as the slang implies, meaning unscientific, false and fictitious. To the contrary, it’s pure science, meaning “with knowledge.” It codifies the timeless truths embodied in the world’s greatest scriptures — the perennial philosophy common the sacred literature of all times and places — and shows them to be compatible with the knowledge of modern physics.
The Positive Paradigm is not only consistent with the laws of physics, but is equally compatible with the visionary poetry of culture-specific religions and myths. It’s also inclusive of the Star Wars movies by George Lucas and films by Steven Spielberg, including those revolving around the action hero Indiana Jones.
The Positive Paradigm structure satisfies Campbell’s call for a new mythology as the term is traditionally used. It is a symbolic representation of the creation story (Genesis) and how humans fit into the picture.
If it has a hero, as myths are said to center around a key figure, it would be Albert Einstein. He intuited the unifying theory which Campbell sought, and gave us the formula which, when plugged into Positive Paradigm Wheel, bridges the apparent gap between world religions and modern science.
For thousands of years, this genesis formula, the very heart of the creative process, was hidden as the secret treasure of initiates. Its knowledge was transmitted exclusively to qualified students in the inner circles of monastic schools.
When Einstein intuited the theory of relativity and made it available to the general public in the language of physics, its long-foreseen and dreaded abuse materialized. To Einstein’s personal sorrow, it was misapplied to build weapons of mass destruction: atomic bombs.
This context justifies making the positive application of Einstein’s inspired vision equally public now. For in its traditional context, this three-part formula is a necessary and essential piece of the knowledge puzzle. It has the powerful potential to offset earlier abuse with opposite and equally unifying results now.
Prophetically, Einstein was deeply concerned about the very issues which Campbell addressed and which rest at the heart of Rethinking Survival:
A human being is part of the whole called “‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest . . . This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. . We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.2 – Albert Einstein
The Positive Paradigm pictures what Campbell called “quantum interconnectedness:” a circle where, no matter where on the surface people stand, they are all connected to the same center. Every spoke of the wheel is linked to one unifying hub. The Positive Paradigm Wheel (the equivalent of the whole world of which everyone is part) literally gives us the option of “widening the circle.” It pictures a worldview where delusional separatist thinking has no place.
Figure II.1,The Pinnacle Paradox, shows how this can be so. Contrary to the conventional, competitive manner of thinking, the apex of individual achievement isn’t to rise above, separate from and dominate others. Quite the opposite. The pinnacle of human attainment rests at the center of the Wheel of Life.
Here, the illusion of separateness disappears. All life is absorbed and contained in a single unifying center. Uniqueness belongs to the surface of the wheel, but the true height of attainment rests within. There is no necessary either-or choice between individuality and universal compassion. When the surface is linked with the center in an endless, infinite loop, there is no conflict or contradiction between the two.
Einstein chose his words “circle of compassion” wisely. Like the North Star by which mariners of old guided their ships, the hub of the wheel is the focal point of human consciousness. We set our inner compass on its steady light. It is the origin and seed of the unifying truth which expands outwards to encompass all life.
In another apparent paradox, as one travels from the surface inwards towards the center, the concentric circles contract until they finally merge into a single point. The result is an opposite and equal expansion of consciousness: what Einstein described as the compassion to embrace all living creatures.
Put another way, the Positive Paradigm diagrams the basic structure which all humans share in common. As illustrated in Figure II.2, the Positive Paradigm Wheel mirrors the structure of creation, largest to smallest, from atoms to star-flakes to the revolution of our particular solar system’s planets around its sun.
As such, it reflects the innate potential of every living human being. It gives validity to the founding father’s assertion that all men are created equal in the eye of God and the humanistic belief that all men are brothers. It’s also suggestive how evolution and creationism are compatible as two sides of the same coin.
The Positive Paradigm model shows concentric circles around a common center. It places the three variables of Albert Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 (energy, mass and light), within the biblical wheels-within-wheels structure of the creative genesis formula.
The result is the unified (and unifying) theory which Einstein sought. He missed it because he lacked a non-linear, concentric circle structure which expresses the dynamic relationships of his three variables in a two-directional, infinite continuum. (See Figure II.3.)
Linear thinking is the left-brain way of viewing the world. Traditionally, Westerners are most comfortable in this mode. At first, the Positive Paradigm way of looking at experience in terms of circles — concentric circles at that — may seem strange to left-brainers. Right-brainers at home with Asian traditions will find this in-depth way of seeing things easier going. However, they too will benefit from balancing the two sides.
So to get the most out of this book, it will help to have pen and paper handy. Make it a hands-on, interactive experiment. The purpose is to ingrain Einstein’s “new way of thinking.”
Draw concentric circles like those shown on the cover and in the illustrations. Circles talk to the right side of the brain. Words talk to the left side. So for every subject below, decide where each of its parts belong. Write your names for the “big stuff” — unchanging absolutes — into the center. Place the your words for the stuff that passes away, ephemerals — “the small stuff” — on the surface.
Be careful to discriminate between what’s permanent and what’s not. Ideas fit more towards the center. Fleeting emotions and desires go in the middle. Tangibles belong on the surface.
The process of placing left brain language within a right-brain image of concentric circles has the effect of linking the passive, in-going with the active, out-going hemispheres of the brain. You’re completing the circle of yin and yang.
Then draw infinity figure-eight-shaped arrows that link the levels. Now you’re beginning to think in a two-directional, whole-brain (holistic) way. You’re approaching Einstein’s new way of thinking, the way of genius.
The illustrations provided here are only examples of how to proceed. They’re intentionally rough, not the polished work of a visual artist. Because visual arts tend to draw the mind out. And the purpose here is to look inwards — to “see with the heart.” The idea is to look past surface appearances and “hear” their inner meaning.
Earlier, I called this model the Synthesis Wheel. “Synthesis” seemed to be the most technically correct choice because that term emphasizes integration of levels of experience, not unlike the term “yoga” which means “union,” close cousin of the “unified” theory of Einstein’s quest. The paradigm is called “positive” because, in contrast to the limited, exclusively materialistic paradigm of empirical research science, it includes all levels of experience and, importantly, places each level in correct relationship to the others.
This change is also called “positive” because the creative process as a whole is in accord with the organic laws of nature encoded in the Book of Change. Positive change is quite distinct from the unnatural, superficial and arbitrary change of short-sighted human devising.
The word Change in “The Positive Paradigm of Change” emphasizes that this isn’t a static model. It is dynamic, inclusive of the outward path of creative extension as well as the inward return to the creative source.
The Positive Paradigm’s Synthesis Wheel mirrors the micro-cosmic structure of atoms as well as the macro-cosmic structure of planetary systems. At the microscopic level, its concentric rings mirror the structure of atoms around a nucleus. It equally mirrors the symmetry of the planets orbiting around an organizing star, the sun. On the largest scale of magnitude, it reflects the in- and out-breaths of perpetually expanding and contracting universes.
This familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns that cover Muslim Mosques, to name but a few. They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity, and to a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.
The layered structure of the Positive Paradigm Wheel gives new meaning to Einstein’s observation that a problem can’t be solved at the same level on which it was created. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” It gives new meaning to “Go deep,” and “We can’t be satisfied with superficial answers.”
If mankind is to survive, what’s required is a fundamentally new manner of thinking which is substantially, that is to say, qualitatively better.
Outer levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel are ephemeral extensions a timeless, absolute center. Just as a single snow flake’s structure is universal but its particular form is unique, each human is, paradoxically, the same as all others at the center while outwardly unique.
Yoga scriptures correlate the three levels of the wheel with three different states of consciousness. Most of us experience the states of waking, sleep and dreamless sleep separately. However, it is possible to experience the entire continuum simultaneously while remaining fully conscious.
In the terms of modern brain science, this is accomplished by not only integrating functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, but by simultaneously coordinating the full span of vibrational brain wave frequencies from fastest (beta) to slowest (delta). The fully enlightened sage’s experience of linking the levels is called “turyia.” In that state, a highly accomplished being is said to be “here and there at the same time.”
The layers of concentric circles aren’t literally separate and discrete. Rather, they are a continuum along the infinite spectrum of creation. Within each layer are numerous degrees and distinctions which can be verified only by direct experience. For the sake of the following discussion, however, the three levels are described as if discrete, starting from the surface of the Wheel and moving inwards.
Einstein’s Variables: Mass, Energy and Light
m. mass. The outer rim of the circle is the realm of the material, manifested world of creation. This level is the abode of empirical science which measures tangible, material phenomena and objects. It is the plane of duality, the fluctuating ebb and flow of mortal life, the ups and down of daily experience. It is the realm into which public school education too often squeezes and flattens children. This is the level of which Einstein said, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
Those focused excessively here are unduly attached to material possessions as well as to money, social status and institutional power. Here appearances are more important than substance. Saving face replaces authentic virtue. Paradoxically, out of balance, abundance on the material plane seems to foster an insatiable sense of lack. Limited connection with the center breeds insecurities and greed. The infinite variations on the same eternal forms are misconstrued as grounds for cultural conflict and competition for illusory supremacy.
When people live primarily on the surface, with the middle (primarily “unconscious”) level clogged and in conflict, systems break down. Attempting to fix problems caused by this inner turmoil at the superficial level can not achieve any lasting, qualitative improvement.
When internal dynamics remained unchanged, apparent re-forms are cosmetic only. Thus authors who write books about changing organizational systems without an understanding of the dynamics of natural law and human nature (much less the central core which illumines the field) miss the point.
Atheists who deny the existence of the inner levels are materialists in the extreme. Yet, however badly religious teachings have been misunderstood and abused over time, this does not alter the functional facts of existence, now confirmed by physics as well as by the consistent testimony of sages throughout the ages. (By all means, throw out the bath water, but save the baby.)
From the surface, taking the inward journey required to access the center may seem like extinction, as if outer and innermost are an either/or choice. This is sheer ignorance. When the full spectrum of life is known, there’s nothing to fear, not in mortal death, certainly not in completion. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross described it well in The Wheel of Life.3 Returning to the center is a home coming and necessary prelude to new beginnings.
Because the middle level associated with “energy” is the level of “power,” its great gifts are balanced with opposite and equal dangers. Therefore, spiritual teachers take great measures to ensure that spiritual aspirants are fortified with sound physical health as well as socially responsible attitudes before they’re permitted to proceed further.
Because the temptations encountered in the middle level are not for the faint of heart or corrupt of character, some schools discourage travelers from entering the so-called swamps of the “unconscious,” even making it taboo. But cleaning out the alligators — facing your fears — though difficult, is supremely worth it. It’s only by summoning the courage to take this leap of faith that one succeeds in reaching the far side of “enlightenment.”
When the middle level is sufficiently clear and consciously disciplined, it serves as the gateway to intuition and repository of pure ideas. According to Einstein, who visited this level, “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
e. Energy. Much ignorance, misinformation and confusion surrounds the energy level of the Positive Paradigm. The current state of chaos into which the world is degenerating attests to this deficiency, as well as the urgent need to correct it. Only the basics are described here, suggestive of further possibilities.
The middle level is the domain of natural law, whose dynamics are mapped in the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change. This body of knowledge has evolved over eight thousand years as sages continue to observe the operations of energy and document the repetitive patterns of change. As discussed earlier, natural law applies to the physical world with its recurring cycles of seasonal change. It is equally applicable to humans and their cyclical life changes: birth, growth, decay and death.
The middle layer is the realm of less tangible but still measurable states of energy, including electricity. More subtly, it is the chi, ki or prana described by Chinese, Japanese and Indian traditions as the life force which animates all living beings. In Greek and Christian contexts it correlates with the breath, the psyche.
These subtle energies influence internal psychological states and drive external human behavior, which in turn affects social relationships. Knowledge of these dynamics is essential to personal survival. Effective leadership and the quality of life within organizations also hinges on the amount of awareness brought to dynamics at this level.
While some people understand the dynamics of change at a gut level as a simple matter of common sense, systematic logic and deliberate understanding can greatly improve outcomes of the decision-making process.
The concept of natural law as America’s founding fathers understood it was based on the writing of European philosophers: Rousseau, Locke and Hobbes. In some ways it’s similar, but in other ways not to the natural law discussed here.
Further, in the last century, Wetherill reinvented the law of karma, which he termed “natural law.” Unfortunately, the valid and truly significant contribution he has to make on this subject is distorted by the imposition of an evangelical agenda. Except to acknowledge that other approaches to natural law exist and state that they’re not to be confused with the immediate discussion, further elaboration is outside the parameters of this section.
Be that as it may, in this context, the “subtle” energy realm lies between the outer, surface level of matter and the deepest center of unchanging stillness. As the functional link between extremes, both on the out-going and the in-going paths, it serves as the unavoidable gatekeeper and mediator between the two. “You can’t get from here to there,” except through this middle level of experience.
Historically, Asian cultures are more comfortable with this middle level. Asian healing arts including as chi kung, tai chi and hatha yoga use exercises to intentionally circulate, balance, harness and direct subtle energies through the physical body. Westerners are beginning to catch up. As international business and educational exchanges increase, Western technologies and Eastern subtle sciences are cross-fertilizing.
Musicians, especially ones educated in the Eastern and Western sciences of sound vibrations, are keenly attuned to this level. Inspired, harmonious music can heal the physical body and uplift the soul.
It’s no accident that Einstein was an accomplished violinist. The biblical David — first musician, later warrior and king — soothed King Saul’s feverish fits by singing to the accompaniment of his stringed lyre.
Don Campbell describes the benefits of performing or just listening to classical music. His title, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit4 suggests music’s ability to harmonize and coordinate the levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel. Research has shown that the effects of music delay or even prevent dementia. Harsh, strident sounds, however, trigger negative emotions and can damage the nervous system.
The middle ring is also the repository of karmic information, where the history of past actions is kept, along with a record of debts to be repaid. In psychological terms, it’s the repository of short and long-term memories. The composite of emotions — fears, desires and repressed tendencies — are stored here in what Western psychologies call the “unconscious.” It is the stuff of dreams — inspired visions, nightmares and everything in-between.
The bardo, where (according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead5) recently departed souls travel, is located within this level. Spirits, ghosts, leprechauns, angels and demons or jinn acknowledged by various mystic traditions also reside there. From here, unseen hands from the “dark side of the force” reach out to derange the minds of power-hungry rulers and undermine political affairs.
So long as their invisible influence remains unaccounted for, the failings and depravities of human leaders remain mystifying. Conspiracy theorists can track the complicated networks of human crime on the surface. But to trace world domination plots back to their lair, one must look deeper. St. Paul described it in his letter to the Ephesians:
6:12. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6 [emphasis added]
When cluttered and undisciplined, the middle energy level is like a swamp full of alligators.
Once the swamp is cleared out and the alligators are tamed, however, energetic potentials can be harnessed to worthy goals. They’re like the gas that fuels the car engine, or the horses that drove Plato’s chariot. They become the generator of what Tony Robbins calls “unlimited power.”7
But easier said than done. The Positive Paradigm model validates experiences which report a dark side to the subtle realm, which the life traveler must be prepared to encounter and survive. There’s much truth to the classic lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The beleaguered prince, haunted by the horrific vision of his murdered father’s ghost, tells his steadfast friend, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”8
Here are three examples of encounters with the dark side. The first has a positive outcome, the second a tragic result, and the third a comic twist.
The most familiar is the temptation of Christ. After forty days and nights spent fasting in the wilderness, he was approached by the devil. All the kingdoms of the world were promised to him in return for bowing down in worship. Jesus answered, “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and only him shalt thou serve.”9
The tragic example of temptation is the Faust story, most famously told by the German romantic poet, Goethe. Fed up with the arid emptiness of intellectual life, an aging scholar agrees to sell his soul to Mephistopheles in return for youth, power and the love of an innocent woman. Inevitably, he pays the terrible price.
The third example is the comical but cautionary tale of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, animated as a Disney cartoon, staring (appropriately) Mickey Mouse. In his master’s absence, a lazy student tries to harness the forces of nature to do his cleaning chores. He succeeds in casting a spell on the element of water, but then can’t turn it off. He escapes drowning only because the master returns just in time to rescue him.
This third example brings up an important point which deserves emphasis. The Positive Paradigm is called “positive” in part because all the components of Einstein’s formula included. Equally importantly, they are in correct relationship to each other. The center is the first and primary core. Energy is subordinate to it. It emanates from this source and returns to it. The surface, though largest in circumference, is but the final and transitory manifestation of the creative process. It depends on the center for its existence and upon the energy level for life-sustaining vitality.
History is full of people who get a taste of power and then, tragically, forget from whence it came and to which it must return. They presume to challenge and rebel against the Creator, as if it were possible to usurp the center place within the wheel. They distort the relationship amongst the variables, attempting to turn things upside down. Inversions and perversions inevitably bring harm to those who try to put themselves first, mistakenly attempting to subordinate either nature or nature’s God to the whims and ambitions of human ego.
The section called Yoga Years describes three men I’m personally aware of who made this mistake: Frank Lloyd Wright, the swami and the UW professor. From personal experience, I know that those unable to resist the temptations of power become renegade agents of the dark side.
In What Really Matters, Tony Schwartz quotes from interviews conducted at the Menninger Institute by Elmer Green which illustrate my point.10 Upon request, Swami Rama was able enter the [theta] state rather easily.
“However, he quickly returned to his ordinary consciousness, looking visibly agitated,” Green reported. “‘That’s a horrible pathological state,'” the swami announced. When asked what he meant, the swami replied:
All of the things that other people wanted me to do, all of the things that I wanted to do, all of the things I should have done but didn’t do, came up and began screaming at me at the same time., . . It is very noisy and very unpleasant. Usually I keep that turned off.
I surmise that he had a very bad conscience indeed, and found the resultant pressure cooker build-up at the energy level most uncomfortable.
But turning off consciousness is far from an optimal option. Inhibiting awareness of the energy level cripples efforts to acquire self-knowledge, much less enlightenment. Religionists, moralists and even poets like Edgar Alan Poe warned against exploring the middle realm, portraying it as dangerous, fearful or unclean.
But in effect this slams the lid on libido, the motivating life force. Doing so doesn’t avoid its dangers. It just banishes this level from conscious awareness. This part of inner experience then festers, rendered inaccessible, relegated to “unconscious” status.
Enforcing taboos on access to energy level awareness backfires, resulting in mental illness, socially aberrant behavior, addictions and personal tragedy. Jung’s observation, quoted in relation to irrational prejudice, bears repeating here:
Our time has committed a fatal error; we believe we can criticize the facts of religion intellectually. . . The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.11
The facts of religion Jung referred to include not only the existence of a supreme being residing at the center of and permeating the whole of creation, but also the middle energy level — including the dangers of its satanic potentials — as an integral part of that whole.
Chinese sages, who trod lightly but surely in that middle realm, used the I Ching as their instruction manual. Jung understood the potential good that could come from introducing this wisdom to the Western world, where it could be used as an instrument for making the unconscious again conscious, restoring intelligent competence at this level.
I summed up the repressive attitude of the materialistic science paradigm in the following Essay Sketch:
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Funny how the mind works. For centuries it’s been known that if you tell people not to think of white elephants, they’ll think of nothing else. So, to pervert children, forbid them to think about sex.
Slamming the lid on libido drives it into the unaccessible “unconscious.” While publicly feigning compliance, people thus repressed will privately indulge compulsive sexuality in extreme.
Energy science trains students to be wise/skillful in sexual matters, fulfilling intimate needs without tearing the fabric of their emotional/social life apart or harming innocents. Why aren’t these basics taught in schools, instead of filling young heads with ignorant fear and shame of their bodies and God-given potentials?
Havoc reaped now for enforcing ignorance/silence is sure indicator that long-neglected basics should be top educational priority of Positive Action advocates.
And ask this: Who, if anyone, stands to profit by the results of ignorance?
Many a politician and educator knows this sad truth. It would be instructive to look at the tragic (if predictable) sex abuse scandals which plague the Catholic church through the lens of the Positive Paradigm of Change. See Daniel Goleman’s work on “emotional intelligence” (why it can matter more than IQ) for an approach to educating competent behavior at this level of experience.12
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at emotions from a complimentary perspective. “E-motion” is an energy-suggestive word, suggesting kinetic potential. It’s closely associated with “motives.”
Each of the basic emotions correlates with an internal organ, giving new meaning to clichés like, “My gut tells me . . .” or “It makes my heart ache . . .” In TCM, anger is associated with the liver, fear with the kidneys, worry with the stomach, and so forth. When the physical body is basically healthy and the energies of the internal organs are harmoniously balanced, each is associated with a specific virtue. The virtue of the lungs is courage. The virtue of the liver is kindness.
Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they develop and depend for survival on strengths drawn from the middle and center of the wheel.
At times, deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude. At other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence. In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.
Societies which enforce a materialistic worldview and deny the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardship on those whose inner lives are especially active.
Denying high energy people’s drive and failing to provide practical methods for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to suicide, or at best, underground.
Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.
Humor provides another outlet for releasing the pent-up emotional tensions which cause illness. The Positive Paradigm gives credence to the Norman Cousin’s belief that “laughter is the best medicine.”13 It validates the healing wisdom of Patch Adams, the paradigm-breaking physician who’s earned international fame for clowning with patients.14
Rather than merely releasing pressure build-up, yogic practices harness that energy. They integrate the levels. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the purpose of preliminary disciplines is to to heal the physical body of disease and then correct ignorant character flaws which result in personal misfortune.
The next step is to purify the body-mind of toxic, emotional disturbances which clog the middle level. This enables students to penetrate the so-called astral sheath and prepares them to travel deeper to merge with the innermost source, thus fulfilling the ultimate purpose of life. Incidental powers (siddhis) which sometimes occur at this mid-stage of development are warned against as obstacles: dangerous distractions from the goal of enlightened inner peace.
The motivation and energy generated at this level is the driving force that allows seemingly ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats of strength and endurance. The mother who single-handedly lifts a vehicle off of a beloved child trapped beneath demonstrates the stored energy potentials which can be released in response to a crisis of Titanic proportions.
When sufficiently purified and mastered, disciplined and intelligently harnessed to positive goals, the middle level fuels Anthony Robbins’ “unlimited power.” These subtle energies explain the possibility of seemingly impossible feats, including the miracles attributed to Moses and Jesus.
c. Light. The innermost state of being is silent yet fecund, that from which all forms emanate and to which all return. It is the alpha and omega, the ultimate and exclusive source of infinite power.
Merging with this all-encompassing source of consciousness is what scriptures refer to, quite literally, as “enlightenment.” It is the “secret place of the Most High,” home of God the Father in Heaven honored in the New and Old Testaments. It correlates with the Hindu Brahman, the Chinese Tao, the Muslim Allah, and the Native American Great Spirit. In Star Wars, Jedi knights refer to The Force. Contemporary pastors sometimes defer to “The Boss.”
The deepest center is the original seed of life from which creative solutions and new beginnings emerge in answer to the prayers and sincere efforts of those who hear and do. It’s the unfailing source deeper than ephemeral fears which gives positive survivors the inner strength to withstand the sudden shocks and catastrophic changes of Titanic times.
It is to this quiet center of refuge that sages retreat in meditation to patiently out-wait misfortune, the better to return renewed when the time is right. It is the healing place to which they turn when life becomes too difficult to endure without solace. It is the escape, far better than drugs, alcohol, sex or even music, that makes life’s challenges bearable and worthwhile.
Within this innermost core, subtle but important gradations are distinguishable. In the biblical tradition, there is the Lord God that dwells in eternal silence. Then God the Father, who said, “Let there be light.” And then Christ, the son, who said “I am the light and the way.”
At the fine boundary where light intersects with energy is the realm of pure Idea described by Plato and embodied in the pristine I Ching. The prophets and seers (literally those who “see”) whose visions and miracles are recorded in the Old Testament drew their inspiration from this level. Moses is an example. Close to that are the strongly held beliefs — principles and values — which generate emotions, which in turn drive external actions.
It is from this innermost perspective that scriptures query, “Death, where is thy sting?” And in the vernacular, in-forms the disciplined martial artist’s attitude, “Pain don’t hurt.”
The ultimate, irrevocable justice of the “all-seeing” Eye of God (that which ancient Egyptians attributed to Horus) emanates from the silent center. The Positive Paradigm model pictures the correctness of prophetic wisdom, “Justice is mine, sayeth the Lord.”
Temporal leaders who presume to “play God,” no matter how rich or influential they may be, do so only at their own risk. Charismatic power-holders who emphasize the energy variable, no matter how persuasive they may seem to followers, cannot fool the all-knowing Creator.
Those with the wisdom to remain humble before the source of worldly blessings are rewarded accordingly; those who fail to acknowledge and align themselves with the fount of justice inevitably (as Hitler did) pay the price.
By this standard, leaders who — even with the best of intentions — lead innocents astray and bring constituents to harm, pay a heavy price. Ignorance, it has been well said, is no excuse. Those who intentionally bring death and destruction on their followers — no matter how seductively it’s rationalized — no doubt fare much worse.
Especially at this eleventh hour of history, it behooves secular and religious leaders alike, in everyone’s ultimate survival interests — not the least their own — to diligently seek out and cleave to the Truth of the Creator (and by extension, all of creation). It abides eternal, deeper than national interests, irrational prejudices and public opinion polls.
Unlike the levels of mass and energy, which can be described at length from experience, the silent center of light is by definition best honored by silence. Or at least as few words as possible. Much greater souls, in the world’s greatest scriptures, have done it better than I can attempt here.
Unfortunately, only the few who have been initiated into the mysteries of yoga-like disciplines succeed in earning direct access to a fully conscious and continuous experience of this innermost level. Einstein was blessed with occasional flashes of insight, but lacked the knowledge and methods required to access the inner core in a sustained and deliberate manner. Mozart, it seems, was an “old soul,” born with access. He used his gifts to inspire others (notably Einstein) with a hint of what it’s like to experience the deepest harmony and rhythms of life.
Stability in the Midst of Change
Like the greatly misunderstood Book of Change, the primary purpose of the Positive Paradigm of Change model is NOT to predict the future, but to help intelligent, skillful leaders maintain personal and social stability in the midst of ongoing change.
The longevity of China’s reigning dynasties was attributed to the I Ching wisdom of their advisors. Seers guided emperors in the ways to maintain social and political stability by harnessing the energy of any and all current events in support of long-term goals. Used correctly, this model has similar potential.
Campbell’s The Power of Myth includes a 14th century French version of the Wheel of Fortune.15 Today’s equivalents are the roulette wheels found in gambling casinos and Ferris wheel rides at circus carnivals.
The medieval Wheel repeatedly spins players first to the heights and then the depths of experience in never-ending cycles of change. The change survivor is pictured with his head at the center. Only his feet touch the rim.
This is the observer-sage’s ultimate accomplishment: the ability to remain calmly poised, quiet and still at the center eye of life’s hurricane, undisturbed by outer turmoil, the same in all circumstances. In contrast, off-center victims skim along the surface of fortune’s wheel, scrambling in bewilderment, panic and anguished despair.
The Tao Te Ching’s succinct imagery describes the ability to see and serve from the center as a key leadership quality:16
Spokes that drive a spinning wheel
depend on a single hub
A clay pot’s outer shape is lovely,
but its receptive hollow
is what’s useful.
Walls shape a home,
but its doors allow
access and exit;
its windows let in
light and fresh air.
Therefore, to serve effectively,
center in non-being.
Live deeper than surface forms,
serving the vital function
of empty space.
Working with the Positive Paradigm of Change gives the thoughtful person a realistic perspective on what changes and what doesn’t, of what to depend on and what not. The eternal center, deeper than change, is impervious to time. It’s changeless.
In stark contrast, on the surface, natural elements are continuously combining, separating and recombining. Matter is continuously composing and decomposing, forming and reforming — sometimes deforming.
Human relationships are continuously mutating. Human organizations are inherently unstable. Only the power of higher love and disciplined long-term commitments override the natural process of death and decay.
For those securely established at the hub, the center holds eternal. With a correct and complete model of change, survivors are able to the maintain inner stability necessary to cope with unstable circumstances. When people forget, they get stuck on the surface and then complain that “the center does not hold.”
Those attuned to the center don’t identify with surface changes. They know better than to take them personally. They don’t kill themselves when the stock market crashes. They adjust. They don’t kill others to revenge themselves on outrageous fortune. For the sake of their own sanity, they simply forgive and remain open to new opportunities.
From a limited human perspective, experience sometimes seems just, the logical consequence of past behavior. Other times, life seems to make no sense whatsoever. Most unjust. But that’s life as we know it on Planet Earth. “Shit happens.”
Those attuned to the center feel no need to identify with religious institutions, much less religious leaders. They don’t put their faith in nations or corporations, much less their reigning figureheads.
These come and go. Most reflect the timeless source in some ways, but in many ways don’t. Sometimes they serve valid social purposes. At other times, they operate in ways antithetical to life itself. As a practical matter of survival, it’s best to “Take the best and leave the rest.”
The concept of a “change agent” is quite foreign to the Positive Paradigm worldview. Wise leaders humbly regard themselves as instruments of change. For change in the forms of alternating seasons, life cycles, and inclement weather patterns is ongoing. Humans have no control over it. At best, they can foresee, prepare for and endure natural change. They can make the best of available options.
Historical cycles are also repetitive. Learning from the lessons of history makes leaders more effective in their choices. They cannot, however, prevent cycles from recurring. Human history isn’t linear. Acting as if it were is unhelpful.
Change agents who introduce novelty at the surface-rim may be successful in their innovations. It depends on whether (and how well) the leader is attuned to the organic, directional flow of history and the deepest needs of the times. Forcing change on the basis of intellectual strategies has been know to backfire horribly.
What is a Paradigm?
According to Webster’s,18 it’s “a pattern, example or model.” By extension, the word refers to “an overall concept, accepted by most people in an intellectual community, as those in one of the natural sciences, because of its effectiveness in explaining a complex process, idea or set of data.”
The Positive Paradigm Wheel is a model which effectively explains the complex, patterned process of creation and the inseparable connection of Einstein’s variables — light, energy and mass. This model shows that the physical sciences, including physics (mass), are inseparably linked with the subtler sciences of energy as well as with the metaphysics of light.
This conceptual tool pictures the essential unity of physics and foundational metaphysics, giving a useful basis for addressing what Einstein called the “fateful fear of metaphysics.” (“Fateful” because ignorance of metaphysics leaves the uninformed in the dark: helpless, fearful and at the mercy of what is — unnecessarily — unknown.)
“Intellectual communities,” however, don’t have exclusive ownership of paradigms. Everyone, whether consciously or not, operates on beliefs as to how the world works and their place in that world.
The formal rules of those belief system(s) are learned, often by rote, in secular and religious schools. Often these secular and sacred rules don’t agree. To make matters worse, formal rules usually don’t match the informal rules taught by the examples of family and role models. Policy and practice don’t mesh. Herein lie the origins of the conflict and strife in daily life.
For example. a model held in common by most Americans is “democracy.” One person, one vote. Equal justice before the law. Equal opportunity in the job market. The fruits of one’s labor are one’s own. Literally, power to the people. Yet, as I documented at the smallest, local level with statistical research described earlier, democracy is a myth. An informal selection process precedes the formal one. The ranks are closed and controlled by insiders on every scale of magnitude.
Although not immediately germane to Rethinking‘s central subject, the same anti-democratic dynamic persists even to the highest levels of national and international organization. Notable examples include the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderbergers. Rumor has it that there are equivalent underground political-financial networks in Russia and China, perhaps interconnected with their counterparts in the Western world.
Be that as it may, democracy is a myth in the technical meaning of “myth” — a representation of the way the world works and how individuals fit into it. But it’s also a myth as the slang usage implies: false and fictitious. It’s not true to our common experience. Theory and experience, policy and practice are seriously out of synch. They don’t match. For the most part public policy is wishful thinking: at best, empty window dressing; in the worst case scenario, a distraction and cynical cover up.
Usually people are content to muddle through. This can get us by in good times. In times of danger, however, muddled thinking becomes a threat to survival. Making beliefs conscious, reconciling them with experience and choosing from which system to operate is the first step towards mental health and personal peace. How to function safely and effectively in a world that’s out of synch is another issue altogether.
During the same time my thinking evolved — getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change — others have been working to the same end. I’ve watched as an ongoing number of books have come out, each challenging the exclusively materialistic paradigm. With the popularization of yoga, tai chi and alternative approaches to healing starting in the 1970s, teachers began chipping away at the paradigm block.
American students continued the work of their Asian mentors. They earned their academic degrees and then, as qualified professionals, began to mainstream and integrate the best of Asian healing and philosophical traditions with Western sciences.
Notable proponents of complementary medicine reflect the influence of Japanese, Indian and Chinese teachers. Though too numerous to know or name entirely, they include Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish, Patch Adams, Daniel Goleman and Howard Gardner. Each has gently, tactfully, but persistently been wearing away at the medical model my father found so inhumane.
On another front, books promoting Total Quality Management and the Tao of Leadership began to chip away at the old authoritarian competition paradigm. They compared the results of alternative leadership styles, particularly in the highly competitive Japanese auto industry, to the way America had been doing business. Stephen Covey’s work was a primary mover in this new direction. Tony Robbins’ work as a motivational speaker also began to energize the American business sector (including the founding of my +A Positive Action Press), one person at a time.
A whole generation of writers was incrementally paving the way, creating public readiness for the Positive Paradigm to reemerge in its entirety. Instrumental to this process is the emergence of the paradigm concept itself. General awareness was being stirred that there is more than the one way we take for granted now. Paradigms aren’t absolute. They shift.
To understand what it will take to move from the prevailing, limited materialistic and competition-driven paradigm to a comprehensive worldview requires a look at how paradigm shifts occur.
The Theory of Paradigm Shifts
As a graduate student, I was taken with the idea of paradigm shifts, and did my homework for the Educational Policy seminar on the Origin and Future of Universities.
Thomas Kuhn’s seminal 1962 paper on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions18 describes the way prevailing worldviews shift. An accepted worldview falls out of favor as it an increasingly fails to answer new questions and meet new needs. A more satisfactory alternative eventually emerges to replace what no longer works.
Established authorities, however, have vested interests in preserving old ways. So the shift initially meets fierce resistance. The new replaces the old only as new leadership comes into power.
Breton and Largent’s 1996 The Paradigm Conspiracy includes a meticulously researched summary of paradigm studies.19 It elaborates on the deadly effects of the current, highly toxic control, dominance and (money) addiction culture responsible for tanking the world economy.
The authors describe the transitional, limbo state during which the old science is producing grievously counter-productive results, but a new one has yet to emerge with sufficient clarity to gain popular acceptance. When trying to solve problems caused by a limited and limiting worldview, the common intermediate mistake is to ratchet up efforts to enforce the very standard which is causing problems, making matters worse.
Relying on Kuhn, Breton and Largent describe old-paradigm practitioners’ defensive reactions. When they can’t explain why things are going wrong, they find “trouble-makers” to blame and come down on them hard.
If things don’t work, the solution is to take away more rights, stifle more creativity, intimidate more people, build more prisons, and bring back the death penalty. More fear keeps people in line.
According to them, the biggest threat — “the enemy” — to the control and dominance paradigm is the soul, meaning “inner identity,”“who we are” . . . “our internal guidance system.” For, “only when we’re sufficiently disconnected from our inner compass will we follow outer demands.”
So, in order for the control paradigm to operate efficiently, authorities (even those who profess a belief in God) functionally negate the soul and creative individuality — the inner levels of the timeless Positive Paradigm Wheel.
When sufficiently motivated and courageous, rare individuals can “buck the system” or simply unplug from the exclusively materialistic control model, but at great personal price.
“How can we get healthy when our society is sick?” these authors ask. “As it is, our social systems reward soul-negating habits — those that blast our innate worth, creativity, and spirituality — and penalize people who put inner-directedness first.”21
Their conclusion: a full-scale paradigm shift — not just sporadic personal change — is essential. “The social system piece can’t sit this one out.”
The Paradigm Conspiracy details the catastrophic results of falling away from a complete worldview — being constricted and restricted to the surface outer shell. As painful as this picture is, a careful reading is highly instructive. It substantiates both the urgent necessity and the immense value of reopening ours lives to the full spectrum of our creative potentials.
It should be noted that adopting the Positive Paradigm Wheel as an organizing model of experience is not literally a shift. Restoring it now isn’t so much a paradigm shift as a return to what Aldus Huxley called the timeless, perennial philosophy which the world’s major religions share in common.
For “science” is far broader than the current, narrow practice of “empirical” science. The root word simply means “with knowledge.” It’s neither time nor place-bound. It doesn’t limit the ways or levels from which knowledge can be gained. It doesn’t exclude anyone from accessing knowledge. Nor is anything which can be experienced written off as taboo to the open, observing mind.
Paradigm as Map
Overall, it’s important to remember that the Positive Paradigm Wheel is not to be taken literally. It can be described, but not argued: only experienced.
Like a map, its presentation is symbolic. Its purpose is to assist the life explorer in making a safe journey through unfamiliar territory.
Map-making is a tradition handed down over the centuries by the most experienced and skillful practitioners of physical and psychological navigation. As we continue to evolve and increase our intuitive as well as intellectual powers, the state of the art will likewise improve.
But the Positive Paradigm Wheel just a map. Nothing more. Nothing less. It cannot explain the richness and complexity of human experience any more than reading a map of China is a substitute for actually traveling there and having direct experience, being with the land in all its seasons and variations.
But most people prefer to study the maps, to rely on the experiences of those who have gone before, in preparing for any journey. Chances of making the most of opportunities along the way and arriving safely at one’s destination are greatly enhanced by the availability of an accurate map. As medieval Europeans who believed the world was flat needed new maps that included the Americas, we are similarly in urgent need of a rounder, fuller concept of life now.
The map maker’s job is to find a way to summarize vast quantities of information in a structure clear and simple enough to be immediately useful to the lay user. While simple and direct, the Positive Paradigm Wheel can serve as a useful map to those willing to learn the basic terms and format provided.
One example is Figure II.4, which illustrates what Joseph Campbell called hero’s journey inward through the Chapel Perilous of testing and temptations. Biblical examples include the temptations of Christ during his forty days and nights in the desert and the forty years Israelites endured in the desert after leaving Egypt before found worthy to enter the promised land.
We are entering another such time of purification and testing now. Those determined to prevail — who have the courage and common sense to shift to the Positive Paradigm and to act accordingly — are the most likely endure and ultimately survive. Restoring the Positive Paradigm Wheel to public awareness now provides the urgently needed model upon which to generate genuinely Positive Action.
Those who succeed in integrating it into conscious, daily life and implementing this vision have the means for spinning the wheel of history right — altering the quality of their personal lives and restoring a hopeful direction to future events.
Campbell’s Fourth Function of Myth
In their dialogue documented as The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers repeatedly touch on definitions of myth, which are quite similar to those of paradigm. They describe the importance of circles and wheels in ways that almost, but never quite, put the Positive Paradigm picture together. Nor was it their purpose to do more than discuss existing myths.
However, like Einstein, Campbell was very close. All that was necessary was to reassemble the pieces (radiant mystery, powerful unconscious energies harnessed by reason and cultural rites of passage) in a new way and place them within the appropriate levels of the Wheel.
What does further this discussion is Campbell’s description of four basic functions ascribed to myth. Of them, the Positive Paradigm of Change fills three of the four.
The first he calls the mystical function. “Myth opens the world to the dimension of mystery, to the realization of the mystery that underlies all forms.” In the context of the Positive Paradigm, this includes the middle and innermost circles of the Wheel. The levels of experience which rest within the material surface rim remain a mystery to most because they’ve been rendered “unconscious” by prevalent cultural norms.
The second function is cosmological: concerning the physical universe and how it works. Technically, this is the domain of science. Though mystery may be inherent in the workings of the universe, scientists don’t claim to have ultimate answers as to how it came into being or why.
Einstein’s theory of relativity falls into this category. The Positive Paradigm of Change, which sets the three variables of his famous formula into dynamic motion partakes of, but is not limited to, this second function.
Campbell called the third function “sociological,” supporting and validating a particular political theory or social order. Variations abound throughout history. Characteristically, they’re divisive, driven by either-or, “us-versus-them” worldviews. According to Campbell, “this sociological function has taken over in our world.” He called it “out of date.” It’s becoming increasingly dysfunctional to the extent of actually threatening life on planet Earth.
Examples include the ancient Chinese, who believed China was the center of the world. All other nations were inferior and barbaric. Later, British colonial rulers prided themselves in the belief that the sun never set on their empire. For the most part, they assumed the Chinese were pagan primitives.
Historically, Jews believed they are God’s chosen people. On the opposite side, Hitler’s belief in Aryan supremacy fueled the Nazi holocaust. American historians justify their country’s dominance and political actions with the belief that the United States is “exceptional.” In opposition, radical Muslims believe their prophet calls them to exterminate all but their own kind.
Politicized religionists of the Marxist/Communist persuasion deify victims — social outcasts, the poor and down trodden. They demonize the prosperous and clothe vengeful destruction in the guise of “liberation” theology.
Campbell had little use for negative, victim mythologies. “Freud,” he said, “tells us to blame our parents for all the shortcomings of our life. Marx tells us to blame the upper class of our society.” But he would have none of it. “The only one to blame is yourself.”
He cited the Indian idea of karma, which is compatible with the I Ching worldview. “Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.” Out of context, this may sound harsh. But from the Positive Paradigm perspective, self-responsibility born of profound inner self-awareness is the seed of Positive Action and the beginning of hope.
Campbell’s fourth function of myth is pedagogical, meaning instructive of how to live no matter what the circumstances. It underscores restoring harmony with the timeless laws of nature and instilling respect for the common humanity of everyone on the planet. As a matter of survival, he advocated this as the function with which everyone today must align. The Positive Paradigm is an exact fit with this fourth purpose of myth. It has the powerful potential to serve as an alternative remedy to myopic, fragmenting worldviews.
It puzzles me that there’s no mention whatsoever by Campbell of Einstein and the enormous influence of his work. It’s a most peculiar oversight, a very curious blind spot, for Einstein’s vision is integral to the emergence of the Positive Paradigm.
The Prado Painting
Circa the mid-1960s — when I was barely 20 years-old — Mom had a hankering to see Europe. She twisted my arm to keep her company; how could I resist? In England, at the restored theater in Stratford-on-Avon, we saw wonderful performances of Shakespeare’s final, “resolution” plays, The Tempest and A Winter’s Tale.
But what she really wanted see was Spain. I recall a bull-fight, which was the pits. And the Alhambra in Grenada, which I remember as a monument to extravagant wealth and abuse of power. (The tour guide told us Caliphs blinded musicians so they could entertain the ruler and his harem’s pick-of-the-night, unable to witness their revels.)
But, in the midst of the mundane and forgettable, one extraordinary event stood out. At the Prado Museum in Madrid, I lingered in front of a huge medieval rendition of the Old Testament creation story, pictured as an enormous wheel.
As I recall, this oil painting took up a whole wall in a secluded corner of the museum, standing quite apart from the main collection of famous art to which most tourists flocked. While Mom did the tour, I stood transfixed, memorized — GLUED in front of this masterpiece. My inner mind flagged it: REMEMBER THIS! It’s IMPORTANT!
I’ve since tried to find it listed, but to no avail. Probably it’s better that way. The literal details of my memory may or may not be accurate. But the impression it made was correct, powerful and long-lasting.
The colors were gilded with gold-leaf that made the wall seem to glow in the sun-light that streamed in from high windows above. The effect was ethereal. The painting seem to shimmer and vibrate, as if it were actually alive.
At the center hub was God the Father, white-bearded and blue-robed, stern-faced and alert, an observing yet active Creator. His right arm was outstretched, index-finger pointing towards the surface of creation’s wheel. The gesture was the same as in Michelangelo’s famous ceiling mural at the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, “The Creation of Adam.”
Pie slices of history revolved around the hub in chronological order. Each was a self-contained picture depicting a specific story from Genesis in exquisite detail.
When I stood up close to the painting, traveling visually around the circle to study the separate sections one-by-one, each was complete in itself.
But miraculously, when I stood back at a distance, the painting as a whole left the impression that the progression of events was actually going on simultaneously — all at the same time.
It gave me a hint of what creation looks like to an enlightened soul, one to whom time is only an illusion. I could almost understand why scriptures call God “omniscient” — able to know all things of all times, at once, start to finish.
It also gave me a hint of what “time-travel” and “time lords” are about. With an overview of creation, an enlightened being established at life’s center could quite feasibly extend out in any direction, travel to any time and place in the universe in the mental tardis of the perfected mind. Why not?
The Prado painting of creation planted the first seed of the Positive Paradigm Wheel concept that continued to evolve in my mind from that time forward.
I use the Positive Paradigm Wheel to picture a genuinely “well-rounded” approach to education, in the original meaning of the term: “to lead from darkness to light.” Again, Einstein had it right. “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree,” he wrote. “All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”
Figure II.16 shows what a complete and comprehensive (genuinely universal) educational program based on Positive Paradigm rules would look like. Contrast this to the state-of-the-art schools which offer either political/religious indoctrination or practical job training. What institution is qualified to offer genuinely universal education? Certainly not institutions of “higher” learning, mistakenly called “Universities.”
Figure II.17 reflects the unfortunate religion-theocracy versus secular-state conflict based on current, divisive paradigms.
So it becomes the survivor’s personal responsibility to take the initiative, to fill in the gaps in one’s knowledge base, however and as best one can.
Rethinking survival in comprehensive, positive terms is key to surviving in every sense of the term. Short-term extension of corporeal existence is not enough, nor is economic prosperity. For without a congruent connection between center and surface, life is, as pessimistic English philosopher Edmund Burke saw it, “nasty, brutish and short.”
Here is an Essay Sketch which sums up the significance and value of expanding the education paradigm to match the whole of human experience, or conversely, the Titanic disaster of continuing on our current collision course with reality:
LEADERS VERSUS EXPERTS. To disempower people with the potential to threaten empire-building plans, feed them information piece-meal. Keep the right hand from knowing what the left is doing.
Reward potential leaders for knowing more and more about less and less, calling narrow-minded, disconnected obtuseness “professionalism.”
To empower leaders competent to recognize and face up to the new millennium’s challenges, encourage interdisciplinary work, putting the pieces together, finding solutions to apparently unsolvable economic/ social/political conundrums.
The leadership deficit is no accident, nor can it last.
I followed Jung’s example in my version of The Book of Change. When he wrote his introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version, he wasn’t sure how to introduce this unfamiliar subject to an English-speaking audience. He solved the dilemma by letting the book introduce itself. He asked the I Ching what it wanted its readers to know. So I queried too. I asked what my version has to offer its users. The answer was Hexagram 20, AWARENESS:22
Seek increased AWARENESS of the patterns which underlie all natural events. Tune yourself to the creative source of natural change. Then harmony becomes a way of life. Secrets of the arts and sciences will be revealed. Human relationships will become smooth. Mistakes of miscalculation will be prevented. Avoid unnatural leaders.
The “warning” indicated by the bottom changing line was, “Narrow-minded self-interest is not enlightened. Broaden your views. Include others.”
The new hexagram formed as a result of the changed line, which is taken to indicate the probable consequence of taking the warning seriously and acting upon it, was Hexagram 42, GAIN:
GAINS can be made after analyzing the situation correctly. When a person’s life goals are kept firmly in mind, no time is wasted. A way can be found to use whatever resources are at hand to serve one’s purpose. Serving others can be compatible with personal gain. Avoid smug self-satisfaction.
In retrospect, the world has much to gain from pulling back from the extremes of both religious intolerance, on the one hand, and atheistic intellectualism, on the other. The result of a more open, balanced approach to education has the potential to create another re-birth, another renaissance similar to that which produced a Shakespeare as well as a Leonardo da Vinci during paradigm shifts of the past.
The Positive Paradigm Wheel has helped me to picture the dynamics of the English language, which have always confounded me. Words change meanings over time. Different people use the same words to mean very different things. Value words are co-opted. Politicians as spin-artists are especially adept at the practice of “double-speak,” covering up the stink of unsavory behavior with flowery, sweet-smelling language.
This fluidity made it nearly impossible to communicate clearly with others and be received as I intended. To address this frustration, I put together another of my unborn books. I called it The Yoga Dictionary: Answering the Tower of Babel Dilemma. I selected key terms bandied about with confusing effect. For each, I researched the pristine, original meaning and followed its changes and permutations over time. In some cases, the same word means not only one thing but its exact opposite as well.
This initial project evolved into a later book, The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide: 64 Essays on the Book of Change. Each of the 64 essays is dedicated to a single key concept. The first section provides complimentary quotes from world literature. They show the wide range of use over time by many authors in different contexts. The second and third parts reflect the universal law of duality: Whatever has a front has a back. The Front section describes straight-forward uses, referring to the quotes in Section One. The Back notes opposite or inverted uses.
Essay 32, COMMUNICATION, is especially pertinent to Rethinking. Communication, like every other concept, has its back (or down) side:
THE BACK. The opposite of communication is silence, the absence of giving and/or receiving information. In social context, ignoring others is a sign of mistrust or disrespect, a denial of their value, trustworthiness or sincerity. In meditation, however, silence in the inner sanctuary of the mind is the respectful attitude of receptive humility. In this context, cessation of dialogue is prelude to at-oneness.
A perversion of communication is cacophony. The overwhelming amount of data now available from an increasing number of sources causes information overload. City streets and public places are filled with loud, harsh noises that shatter the nervous system. This extreme causes the mind to shut down in self-protection.
In the context of Rethinking, the probability of being misunderstood is high. Key terms like “change,” “paradigm,” “positive” and “solution” are misused. So is “leadership.” They’ve become baggage-laden. To have a hope of being even partially understood, it’s essential to address the language issue. Put another way, the risks of Rethinking’s being misunderstood are daunting. But I trust that The FRONT side of Communication will prevail:
It takes cooperative interdisciplinary work, linking not only related academic specialties, but also the levels of law, to discover solutions to apparently unsolvable economic/social/political conundrums.
The most essential community-building service sincere leaders can provide is the dissemination of accurate, hopeful information that promotes Positive Action. As people of good-will intentionally transcend extremes, cultivating balanced mesovert communication skills, they are developing a base of values shared in common, along with means for sharing vital information.
Especially in the arts, however, it isn’t the writer who inspires. Words are just catalysts. They precipitate inner knowing, causing it to rise to the surface of conscious awareness. It’s the result of synchronicity. When the writer, reader, time and topic are in synch, then, Bingo! There’s a connection — communication.
The Positive Paradigm model solves the Tower of Babel dilemma. Plug conflicting definitions of key concepts into the various layers of the wheel. This works for “Communication” and other key terms as well.
The “positive” word is an important example. Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself. At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution, or merely circling in a clock-wise direction.
“Power” is a word often associated with “lust” and “abuse.” It is also central to “democracy” defined as “power to the people.” At the center, all-powerful is an attribute assigned to God the Creator. Omnipotent.
At the middle level, power is associated with energy. High-energy people are said to be magnetic. Attractive. Sexually potent. Forceful. Vigorous. Socially, towards the surface, powerful people are influential. Effective. They tend to dominate others and control material resources, whether formally (authority) or informally (behind the scenes).
Another important example is the word “light.” It means one thing at the center. Christ used the word when he told disciples, “I am the light and the way.” According to yogic texts, attaining “enlightenment” is the ultimate goal of life.
However, meanings shift at the middle level. A beloved spouse or child is described as the “light of my life.” A subjective experience of joy is described as feeling “light-hearted.”
Alternatively, “light weight” has a negative connotation when used dismissively to describe a person of little consequence. Being “light headed” can refer to the effect of consuming too much alcohol. The connotation shifts again in the context of giving advice, “Lighten up.”
“Light” take on another set of meanings when used at the surface level. Here the very same term describes the radiant light of the physical sun. The word has a darker tone when describing events that expose scandalous secrets to the “light of day.”
Higher Love, Unity and Inclusiveness
The Positive Paradigm Wheel is the image of wholeness and completion: Higher Love. (See Figure II.5.) It pictures the inclusiveness which Campbell and Einstein believed essential to planetary survival. All parts are present, each in right relationship to the others. No part of life’s experience is lacking. No part is distorted or out of place.
This is the harmonious unity each one of us, by birthright, has the potential to experience. Poets describe the joining of the center with the surface as the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.
Given today’s paradigm malfunctions, the bliss of Higher Love seems like a distant dream. Yet we each have memories, however distant, mirrored in our art and sacred symbols. The mandalas and stained glass church windows are just a few of the countless examples. We each have persistent longings for “home” and romance that remind of us of what’s possible.
These longings are captured in the often quoted Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.23 The 19th century English poet William Wordsworth lamented the socialization process that represses early awareness of divine origin:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath elsewhere its settingAnd come from afar; Not in entire forgetfulnessAnd not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we comeFrom God, who is our home:Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing boy.
Upon the growing Boy . . .
Like Wordsworth, Einstein had glimpses, notably at the beginning and at the very end of his life. As chronicled by Walter Isaacson:24
The great awakenings that happen in childhood are usually lost to memory. But for Einstein, an experience occurred when he was four or five that would alter his life and be etched forever in his mind . . .
The catalyst of this lasting impression was a compass his father gave him. He remembered trembling and growing cold in excitement, awed by the “mysterious powers” of a magnetic needle that behaved as if influenced by a hidden force field. As he recalled later, “Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.” At about the same time, his mother introduced to him to music. It awakened awe before the magic and mystery of nature. “Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe itself,” Einstein wrote.
For him, “love [of music] is a better teacher than a sense of duty.”
Despite discouragement of his peers, Einstein persisted in pursuing the Unified Theory of his heart’s desire to the very end of his life. Approaching death, he sensed that “this final transition was at once natural and somewhat spiritual.” In 1955, even on his deathbed, he was still experimenting with mathematical formulas in search of the key to life.
I’ve also had my intimations, though not as dramatic as Wordsworth’s or Einstein’s. The medieval wheel-painting of the Genesis story was one such catalyst. In the Prado Painting section above, the Creator is described as as All-Seeing, All-Knowing and All-Powerful.
Also included in the Creator’s resume is the attribute “All-Loving.” The hub of the Wheel is the center of Divine Love. (See Figure II.5). Equally importantly, what isn’t true love, even when the word is used? (See Figure II.6.)
I have Miss Elson, my senior year English teacher, for my first glimpse. We had to memorize one of Shakespeare’s sonnets exactly, word-for-word, down to the last comma, semicolon and period.25 I chose Sonnet 116 and memorized it by repeating it out loud. I practiced its song-like rhythms and cadent music until they were part of me.
The hidden benefit of memorizing in precise detail was that it made me really think about the meaning of every line and word. This exercise indelibly ingrained the concept of Higher Love in my mind:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
I’ve returned to Sonnet 116 many times over the years. Using it as the standard of personal relationships, I’ve found it to be unfailingly True. In retrospect, Shakespeare’s timeless appeal is once again proven by his uncanny accord with the perennial philosophy.
He knew that Love is like the North Star: the unfailingly stable high point upon which the seafaring pilot’s compass depends. Higher Love endures, untouched by the alterations and tempests of time at the surface of daily experience. It rests at the hub of the Positive Paradigm Wheel.
Wordsworth likened the center to “life’s Star.” Einstein’s earliest glimpse came from a compass, his first experience of something powerfully magical hidden behind the world of things. The True North center is the source of all-encompassing compass-ion, the Buddhist equivalent of Higher Love. It’s the fountainhead of Christian “charity.”
A popular song by Jennings/Winwood heard often in public places as I go about my errands is a familiar reminder of the North Star as source of Higher Love. Here’s a summary of the lyrics:
Think about it: There must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above.
Without it, life is wasted time.
Worlds are turning and
we’re just hanging on.
We walk blind, we try to see,
Falling behind in what could be.
I could light the night up with my soul on fire.
I could make the sun shine from pure desire.
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?
In the last year of Einstein’s life, Bertrand Russell encouraged him to “search for a structure” that would ensure peace in the atomic age. Agreeing that it was imperative to prevent World War III, they signed the Einstein-Russell Manifesto. This later led to annual conferences on the control of nuclear weapons. In the week before his death, however, Einstein went even further. He wrote notes for a radio address urging the creation of a world government.
Sadly, in this, as in his persistent search in the realm of mathematics for the Unified Theory, Einstein had wandered off course. In Positive Paradigm context, peace necessarily begins one individual at a time, and is accomplished from the inside out. So long as dysfunctional paradigms put individuals at war with themselves, general ignorance will continue to escalate into worldwide conflict.
Fatefully, like Kennedy, Einstein didn’t live to make his final address. He was partially correct. A new structure with the potential to prevent world war is necessary; but not, however, on the surface in the form of a governmental agency.
What remains lacking is the structure provided here: Einstein’s North Star compass. It’s another expression of the universally relevant, complete and correct Positive Paradigm.
Creativity, Inspiration and Genius
The Positive Paradigm Wheel pictures the innermost source and dynamic nature of creative work. (See Figure II.7.) It explains the underlying inspirational process behind tangible end results. Those who are consciously aware of the whole process are consistently productive. Those actively attuned to the silent center produce works of inspired genius.
Those focused primarily on the surface may have occasional glimpses and hunches. At best, they’re productive in fits and spurts, as the mood strikes them.
Thanks to the inner structure we share in common, everyone in every walk of life is inherently creative. Professionals whose careers depend on creativity have the potential to flower by becoming conscious of the nature and origin of their gifts.
Obvious candidates are those employed in the arts and sciences. The arts include not only music, painting, photography, writing, film making, and dancing. but also domestic forms of creativity — cooking, fashion, home design, metal working and so forth.
However reluctantly, the best inventors, research scientists, mathematicians, and physicists acknowledge an inspirational dimension to their work. Expanding their paradigm of science to consciously to include the full compass of the Positive Paradigm would give conscious access to the source of their genius.
History gives ample proof that dynamic leaders are most effective when inspired by personal access to the center, or by advisors who listen to the Creator’s silent call. This is applies to all levels of educational, government, military and business.
The Positive Paradigm model would be especially useful to psychologists who seek to understand the inner nature of creativity. Teachers, whether religious and secular, who want to evoke the creative spirit in their students would benefit from understanding and even instructing them on this worldview.
The 2000 UPSG Essay on CREATIVITY describes the Positive Paradigm exactly. Representative quotes from the first section emphasize the holistic quality of creativity. They include one by Richard Wilhelm, who translated The Book of Change from Chinese into his native German; a second by Virginia Woolf, an English novelist who instinctively understood the yin-yang dynamics of the creative process; and a third by Daniel Goleman, a contemporary American psychologist specializing in brain sciences, who focuses his work on workplace environments.
The creative act that penetrates and fashions inanimate matter produces tensions and results in works and forms. We call it diligence; the characteristic of every genius. For it is not greater talent that distinguishes the man of genius. . . . The characteristic of the man of genius is that he acts in accordance with his being. — Richard Wilhelm. Lectures on the I Ching
I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female. . . Coleridge perhaps means this when he said a great mind is androgynous. It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilized and uses all its facilities.– Virginia Woolf. A Room of One’s Own
Our belief that we can speak out without fear of retribution, our feeling of being trusted by others, a confidence in our own intuition — all these affect how we respond to the information before us. . . Since creativity draws upon a person’s facts and values, upon what is conscious and unconscious, analytic and intuitive, a creative work environment truly requires the enthusiasm and commitment of the whole person. — Daniel Goleman, et al. The Creative Spirit
THE FRONT: Webster’s is intriguingly sparse on the subject of “creativity.” It posits only one brief definition — creative ability; artistic or intellectual inventiveness. Its root, “creative” is defined as creating or able to create – generating something where before there was nothing [Genesis]; second as showing imagination; third as stimulating the imagination and inventive powers.
Albert Einstein’s work is an example of the relationship between diligence and creative genius. He labored at science and writing lifelong, regardless of what was going on in the turbulent world about him. Tchaikovsky is another example. He wrote, “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” He made it a habit to be punctual in his work, and trusted the inspiring muses to cooperate. “I sit down to the piano regularly at nine-o’clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous.”
In the past, males regarded themselves as the exclusive, patriarchal proprietors of creativity. Women were traditionally excluded from the ranks of creative genius. Whether for biological or political reasons, it was deemed impossible for them to be artists or thinkers, much less political leaders in their own right. For the most part, thinking made it so.
Asian philosophy (though not necessarily historical example) is more true to nature. Tao, the creative source, is pictured as a perfectly balanced, interdependent blending of male and female, outgoing and inward, active and receptive qualities. Thus the creative person acts “in accordance” with one’s whole being, blending intuition and energy with reason.
Science now confirms what meditators know. The corpus callosum, the wall which separates the inward and outward functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, also serves to link them. Intentionally doing so with breathing and meditative practices is the key to cultivating comprehensive awareness and works of androgynous genius. Gender is irrelevant.
. . . Geniuses are often stereotyped as being antisocial and unpleasantly strange. If this be so, it says more about society’s values than the creative people themselves. Einstein, for example, was a misfit in authoritarian, pre-Hitler Germany. But transplanted to the United States, he demonstrated social conscience, and a humble, kindhearted disposition.
With self-awareness and reverence for life enhanced by simple yogic practices (for example, alternate nostril breathing that links the right and left hemispheres of the brain), creativity becomes a way of life.
The harmonious balance captured in great artworks is a model for everyone’s inner life as well as every-day relationships. Every action, however mundane, becomes a work of art. Life becomes an ongoing expression of symmetry and beauty.
“Inspiration,”a word closely associated with creativity, isn’t defined in the USPG. It should come as no surprise that the concept is closely related to the most basic life process — breathing. Webster’s first definition is “breathing in, as of air, into the lungs.” By extension, it means “being inspired mentally or emotionally.” In theology, inspiration is regarded as a divine influence upon human beings, one result being written Scriptures.
The term “inspire” reflects the infinite nature of the creative process. It means “to breathe in.” The root word, spire, comes from spirit. Originally, it meant “to an animating effect upon.” In Genesis, God’s breathing life into Adam is an example.
Later, the term comes to mean “to draw air into the lungs, to inhale.” It can mean to cause, guide, communicate or motivate, as by divine or supernatural influence, or to stimulate effective or creative action. At the middle, energy level of the Wheel, it can mean “to arouse or produce a thought or feeling.” For example, kindness inspires love. It is also used to mean “to affect with a specified feeling or thought.” For example, to inspire someone with fear.
It’s also not accidental that the linguist roots of “genius” acknowledge a spiritual origin. The Roman root refers to a guardian spirit which influences destiny. Though not indicated in Webster’s, the fully enlightened sage is capable of exhibiting genius as across the board, wherever the laser beam of focus is pointed.
Webster’s second definition refers to a great “natural ability,” implying an innate, inborn (not taught or schooled) understanding. Only later does it come to mean great mental capacity and inventive ability in a particular art or science. Finally, genius is further diminished by associated it with measurably high IQ.
The Mystery of Death and Rebirth
The yin-yang mysteries of life and death apply to experience on every level, from the individual, to families, nations and even planets.
Buddhist teachings are particularly compatible with the Positive Wheel model and its central hub. This is especially apparent in Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death. Roshi Joan Halifax explores the transformative power of the dying process, advising readers to be still, listen and open to the unknown.
Indian film actor Rajini captures the Rethinking concept succinctly in his review: “This book helped me touch that divine part that we all share; it is the Deathless, eternal part of us that will never die because it was never born.”27 [emphasis added.]
“The strange thing about growing old,” Einstein wrote, “is that the intimate identification with the here and now is slowly lost. One feels transposed into infinity . . . ”
In the year before his death, commenting on the passing of colleague Michele Besso, Einstein wrote, “He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. It means nothing.”
Making an observation that could have come directly from the Yoga Sutras, consistent with the Positive Paradigm, he consoled Besso’s family, “For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion.”28
It is said that in the middle ages, Carmelite nuns retired to their cells each night to sleep inside the wooden casket in which, when they died, they would be buried. Taken out of context, this may seem morbid. But in fact, they had it right. They were aligning themselves with the patterns of nature, the better to ultimately survive them. For each in- and out-breath repeats the cycle of release and renewal. Each night that we sleep, we let go of bodily awareness and return refreshed the next day.
On every scale of magnitude, the pattern is the same. Paradoxically, survivors who have released unfounded fears of death are freed to live to the full, here and how.
Lao Tze’s work, which breathes I Ching wisdom, illumines this paradox. He describes the relationship between the creator and creation in the first aphorism of the Tao Te Ching. From Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change:29
Unmanifest and manifest
are two sides of a coin,
though apparently opposite.
Entering this paradox
is the beginning of magic.
Figure II.8 shows what this vision looks like when the words are properly placed within the Positive Paradigm Wheel. To the uninitiated who live exclusively on the surface of the Wheel, the eternal may seem illusive. However, the inner vision necessary to accomplish goals is found only by daring to let go of the familiar surface to travel true home to the center from which blessings then flow outward.
In the words of the God of Moses, “Return unto me, and I return unto you.” In Passage 16, Lao Tze goes even further:
To watch universal cycles as they dance,
still the mind,
empty the heart;
contemplate the rhythms of life
in deepest harmony.
Each life form arises, flourishes and returns,
peacefully merging with the source
from which it came,
fulfilling its destiny
by completing the pattern.
Awareness of the unchanging source
that abides within
perpetual cycles of change
is called wisdom.
Reckless inattention and willfulness
that generate misfortune,
pain and suffering,
is called ignorance.
Knowing the source leads to acceptance.
Acceptance leads to compassion.
With compassion comes omniscience.
With omniscience comes union with the Tao.
Merging with the eternal source,
sages travel safely through life
and survive intact
to begin anew,
unchanged by physical death.30
Here, the sage not only repeats the vision of the hero’s journey. He also describes the methods of the journey — the meditative practice of stilling the mind and emptying the heart, followed by contemplation from the detached observer’s perspective. He also describes the consequences of failing to complete the life pattern and the blessings of succeeding.
The ignorant, through inattention and willfulness, generate misfortune, pain and suffering. Those who attain the source, however, (usually with the guidance of an enlightened teacher) achieve the overview which leads to acceptance, compassion and omniscience. Those who survive intact, merge with the eternal source and begin anew, like the New Adam and Christ in The New Testament. (See Figure II.9.)
Preparation makes the difference, deciding who is most likely to survive coming transitions, emerging better than before through the experience. Here is the root of Positive Change:31
49. CHANGE. Day and night replace each other in endless cycles of CHANGE. The same natural law generates flux in human events. The unprepared see Change as a threat, but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly. They know that after degeneration reaches critical mass, regeneration follows. Welcome the new. Avoid short-sighted fear.
Good and Evil
In addition to having practical uses in analyzing personal and institutional organization, the Positive Paradigm Wheel can be used in numerous creative ways to visualize complex concepts which linear language lacks the depth to analyze. Notably, it can be used to picture the concepts of “good” versus “evil.” “Good” includes the natural life process of alternating light and dark in its entirety. “Evil,”on the other hand, refers to unnatural, destructive dynamics that fragment and undermine that life process.
In some part, racism and sexism are spawned of linguistic confusion. Taking poetic language literally, misinformed scholars have equated yin qualities associated with the right hemisphere of the brain – feminine, creative, dark, internal and quiet – with “bad” and “evil.”
On the other hand, yang qualities associated with the left hemisphere of the brain – masculine, light, analytical, external and active – are mistakenly equated with the male gender and Caucasian race as if exclusively “good.”
Sadly, dangerously, much genuine evil (meaning fear and hate-driven fragmentation) continues to play out as a result of this confusion.
Figure II.10 is the picture of “Evil.” It depicts fragmented distortions where internal and external levels of creation are out of synch. Vision is incomplete. The three levels of experience are in conflict and out of harmony. In addition, whereas the positive, creative wheel spins right, when it is spun left, the center does not hold. The pieces fall apart.
In contrast, Figure II.11 shows the Natural World View. Alternating patterns of change on the surface flow without interference or interruption, aligned with the unchanging center.
Figure II.12 pictures Incomplete Paradigms, where awareness of either the center, middle or surface level is ruled out by the prevailing rules of the knowledge game. With one rationalization or another, a particular part of the comprehensive, organic life experience is distorted or rejected outright as taboo.
For example, materialistic atheists rule out the center. Extreme religionists over-emphasize the center. Sometimes they block out the middle level or condemn the surface.
Readers are left to recognize where their beliefs lie. If negative or incomplete, there’s a choice to make. Whether or not to persist in limiting, dysfunctional paradigms regardless of what consequences have been suffered in the past or what the consequences for future survival might be.
Put another way, the following Essay Sketch on Positive Action summarizes my point:
KNOW THE ENEMY. A man who’s blind can’t fight. If the enemy’s invisible, you can’t protect yourself. If you don’t know who/what/how to fight, you lose by default.
It’s no longer Japan against the U.S. or Germans against Russians and Chinese. It’s a handful of vastly wealthy, pseudo-benign institutional overlords versus unfoolable, unmoveable people of conscience in every land. Don’t be distracted by the false dividing lines of religion, creed, color, nationalism, family, sexual preference, or even wealth.
These aren’t the real issues. It’s who’s doing what, how and why. It’s by the results of their actions — positive or negative, creative or destructive, enabling or enslaving — that one knows true friends from enemies.
The Positive Paradigm Wheel maps the common foundation of human experience through all times. So it should come as no surprise that the teachings of two of the world’s most influential teachers, Jesus Christ and Lao Tze, bear strong resemblance.
Jesus and Lao Tze,32 a volume published in the millennium year 2000, pairs parallel sayings that illumine the timeless, universal source common to both their teachings. Mark Aronson, its compiling editor, views both scriptures through the fresh eyes of a man schooled in the Jewish tradition. The introduction written by a Catholic priest, David Steindl-Rast, uses the language of Tom Paine’s revolutionary Common Sense33 to make his point. He describes the “hidden source whose taste we can discern in the [parallel] sayings [as]. . . Common Sense.” He continues:
. . . its not that we don’t all have Common Sense, but we do not commonly live by it. That’s why our lives don’t make sense. And this is precisely what both Lao Tzu and Jesus point out to us.
Common Sense is our awareness of being inextricably interwoven in the fabric of reality . . . In the Tao, the Logus, in Common Sense, flows our only hope. . . . Non-violently subversive Common Sense, like the steady drip that wears down rock, underwashes all walls of division and makes them fall. But, above all, it irrigates, makes grow, renews. We must be renewed from this source.
In increasingly dark times, our best hope of survival is to heed the still voice of the one common, universal mind, deeper than gut feeling or rational logic, described in these scriptures. It whispers to us from the depths of our beings, bringing the good that remains possible to all those planet-wide willing and able to hear and follow the still but all-powerful voice of Common Sense that rests at the center of our lives, uniting us all. (See Figure II.13.)
Getting Personal and Practical
Setting the static model into motion, we set the dynamics of Positive Action into play. Here we resolve the apparent paradox of Christ’s saying “I am the light and the way,” as well as the exhortation to his followers over time, “Ye must be perfect like your Father in heaven.”
In other words, the invisible and infinite have a necessary connection with the visible and finite. The center and surface are linked, connected by the pathway of speeding light as it radiates outwards and then returns.
The figure-eight-shaped symbol of infinity is used in the Positive Paradigm Wheel. Because the Creator is infinite, beyond time, using this physics symbol is an especially appropriate way to symbolize the connection and linking of the levels.
As light travels on the outward path, it transforms from wave to particle. As pure, generative potential expands, silence transforms into ideas and then emotions within the middle level of the wheel. These in turn materialize into actions that produce physical, tangible results.
On the return path, the process reverses. Matter disperses. It returns to its basic elements. It contracts, receding from particles to waves and then into the perfect silence from which it came. Nothing is lost. It simply changes.
How does this affect me? For many years, I was fascinated by concentric circles, at first not knowing why. But I doodled, using colored pens and pencils. I experimented. Using a compass, I drew up to seven circles — the chakra levels of consciousness.
Later, when I read Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, I found that this philosophy fit into my circles. It was, in fact, a perfect match, actually helping me to better conceptualize and understand the teachings. The model served as a map to organize and deepen my yoga practice.
Just as I was fascinated as an adolescent with the fact that Einstein’s formula could be used to generate powerful tangible results (the atomic bomb!), I was further intrigued to discover that his formula, when plugged into the wheels, is not only helpful in illuminating the theory. It’s actually capable of generating powerfully practical results in my personal life.
Over time, I began sectoring the circles into quarters, giving it North-South, East-West compass directions. I cut out a single eye from a graphic tiger and pasted it into the center of my template wheel to represent the all-seeing eye of Horus.
I plugged the aspects of my daily life into the model. I chose major categories: work, personal life, social life and public service. I used it to analyze where sectors had changed to take too much or too little space within the wheels, where the layers had grown too thick or thin, or how sectors or levels were coming into conflict.
I repeatedly worked with this information to bring the various demands on my life back into balance, to continuously reintegrate the aspects of daily life.
Later, I found it necessary to break the quarters down into smaller subcategories. The concentric wheels began to look oddly like the twelve-sectored zodiac used by astrologers to diagram the placements and interactions of planetary energies.
I used the model not only to organize the sectors of my life, but to plan for alternative futures. I used it to picture not only where I was, but where I intended to go and what changes were necessary to get from here to there.
Another time, I used the wheel to record my life history. I used compass North to mark my beginnings.
On the surface I noted the date and place of my birth. On the middle level, I plugged in the names of my parents and grandparents. I created new sectors (pie-slices of experience) for each move, from Peoria to Boston to Arizona to Buffalo and so forth.
Inside, I drew significant events and people associated with each time in my life. I used stick figures striding along the surface to represent me in the role I played at that time. I drew happy or sad faces to indicate my state of mind during that particular period.
The wheel’s progress headed south, and at the nadir began its upswing. Still unfinished, I have question marks to designate the future that still lies ahead as I continue my progress towards the return to the alpha-omega point of True North, where surface and center will finally merge this time around the bend.
Along the way, I also began to use the creative wheels-within-wheels model to analyze professional research questions. For example, in graduate school, I used it to show that racial and gender discrimination originate at the emotional, energy level. Physical acts of violence are the result of dysfunctional paradigms.
In this context, tacking Affirmative Action legislation as an overlay on the surface level, while failing to address a deeper, divisive worldview, couldn’t help, and most likely would make matters worse. (Figure II.14 shows why enforcing morality with Affirmative Action legislation backfires, as well as the alternative Positive Action approach which works.)
I applied the diagram to dysfunctional organizations where I worked to articulate what was going wrong where, as well as what might be done to set things right. For example, I drew EDS Federal as a series of flying disks taking off in disparate directions, disconnected from any unifying core. I drew the University of Wisconsin Hospital as an eight-tentacled octopus. Its separate digits were tangled in knots. Simplifying and prioritizing would have been my recommended, positive change.
Other Organizational Models
I compared the wheel to other organizational models as they came on the market, and welcomed the best available to still better define my personal beliefs and goals. Stephen Covey’s internationally influential book was enticing, especially because I was curious to find out what he meant by “personal change” in the subtitle of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. My first take was that it truly seems as if a zeitgeist in operation here. Anyone who asks the right questions and looks in the right places (or better yet, is humble and quiet enough to listen!) will hear the broadcasting, silent voice of the times.
However, I found that while Covey writes about the necessity of making a paradigm shift, he doesn’t use the term as Kuhn did. He defines “paradigm shift” as “a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works.” This is quite different in scope and depth from a systematic shift in the fundamental rules of the knowledge game, epistemology itself. Nor does his “change” of perception accord with Einstein’s new way of thinking and the deeper levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel.
In addition, Covey focuses on character and morality. He puts “principles” (which can vary from cultural to culture, and sometimes even from person to person) at the center of a two-layered wheel.35
In contrast, the Positive Paradigm unequivocally places the eternal, unchanging, timeless source of creation at the third, innermost center of the wheel.
From my point of view, the critically important middle level of the Positive Paradigm Wheel is significantly missing from Covey’s pictures. Although understandable, the energy concept of “virtue” (quite different from “morality” instilled by cultural conditioning) is significantly absent. He didn’t have the training to include dynamic natural law as the Chinese understood it.
Just as I express the zeitgeist in my own unique voice, he of necessity was expressing the same zeitgeist through his particular filters.
In retrospect, it seems that the personal sacrifices I’ve made have paid off in terms of my ability to simplify and universalize the zeitgeist’s calling. I’ve worked diligently to free my thinking from the limiting filters of cultural conditioning, including gender programming, emotional attachment to religious dogma and even to some extent, nationalism.
I’ve done my best to divest myself of prejudice and cultural blinders. Most importantly, I gave the every difficult versions of the I Ching available early on the benefit of the doubt. I trusted that its apparent incomprehensibility was a deficit in my own understanding, not its inherent worth.
Bottom line: without underestimating the positive influence Covey’s work has had, it’s unlikely that it can lead to a genuine paradigm shift as Kuhn defined it. It certainly has, however, moved us in the right direction, taking a very important first step. He has paved the way, creating international readiness for the Positive Paradigm of Change.
But unfortunately, the world as a whole remains in the same mess, and if anything seems to be getting worse. More is necessary. As a matter of survival, we need to give the old-new perennial paradigm in its entirety a chance.
Though less internationally influential, Julie Morgenstern’s Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life36 is another book that, like Covey’s, uses the “change from the inside out” concept, actually containing it in the title.
I found it, as described, a complimentary “self-optimization tool.” Her program promotes “the creation of a nurturing lifestyle, showing readers how to reduce the clutter of chaotic schedules in order to live more creative and productive lives.”
I liked it. I found it thought-provoking.
However, her planning model consists of rectangular, two-dimensional boxes. In contrast, the concentric circle structure is literally more comprehensive and therefore more true to my own life experience.
Another major step forward has been accomplished in Loehr and Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.37 Placing it in the context of the Positive Paradigm Wheel gives new meaning to their well-chosen title, The POWER of FULL Engagement.
Working with their book facilitates the self-awareness and goal-actualizing process from the deeper, “e” level of the Positive Paradigm Wheel. Following their recommendations, I wrote out a concise vision statement of who I am at my best, along with the tombstone epitaph by which I’d like to be remembered. I still get a lump in my throat when I remember the very personal epitaph of my choice.
Loehr and Schwartz instruct readers to list, on the up-side, their five greatest values and five greatest strengths. Then to list, on the down-side, the five greatest personal obstacles to achieving their goals.
When I compared my list of strengths and values to the list of greatest obstacles, it resulted in an “Aha!” The strengths and values versus personal obstacles correlated exactly. My greatest values generate my greatest strengths. My greatest personal obstacles result from forgetting these values, thus forfeiting their strengths.
For example, I listed faith in God as my greatest value. It correlates with the personal strength of being aware of and living true to conscience. The greatest personal obstacle I listed was pessimism, an attitude embedded deep in my upbringing, which crops up from the reservoir of inherited weaknesses from time-to-inconvenient-time. That undermining pessimism is in exact opposition to my uplifting faith in God and my absolute trust in the guidance and protection which has surrounded and informed me at every step of my life, regardless of the external challenges I’ve faced.
These lists made my choice clear: either listen to the pessimistic demon that surfaces when things get especially rough, taunting that all I’ve learned has been in vain, all the books I’ve written were for naught. Or else rest confident in the profound assurance that I’m surely written in the Book of Life, and that the good I would do will still yet come to fruition – albeit in God’s way, and in God’s time.
Following Loehr and Schwartz’ s instructions, I also defined my life’s five most important lessons. I wrote and rewrote and revisited and rewrote these lessons over and over, in detail. As they promised, remembering these lessons would be a critically important help in holding on to my “ideal self-vision.”
My fifth personal life lesson, for example, was “Never, ever give up: With God all things are possible.” In one of my notebooks, next to that lesson, I used glue stick to attach the cartoon which for a long time was posted over my desk.
It shows a crane with a cobra coiling up a long skinny leg, the snake’s head wrapped in a strangle-hold around the bird’s neck. The caption reads, “Never, ever give up.” Thus I persist in writing, even at this late hour – late both on my personal calendar and in history’s clock — keeping myself prepared and ready to be available when the call comes.
Asking the Vitally Important Questions
Historically, The Book of Change, as the Ultimate Personal Survival Guide, was the premier decision-making tool. For centuries, it was used in China to train leaders across the board – from emperors and generals to priests and bureaucrats, businessmen and agricultural planners.
Today the Positive Paradigm Wheel has similar potential as a decision-making tool.
For among its virtually limitless applications– not unlike the venerable I Ching — it can be used as an effective method for introspection and decision-making, More accessible and easier-to-use, it’s well-suited to the short attention span of the current fractured times, while yielding many of the same benefits.
With it, survivors can articulate their unifying value or goal, place it at the controlling hub of their wheel, and decide on the positive actions most likely to ensure that every level and sector of organization is driven by and furthers their intentions.
After applying the paradigm every which way to the facets of one’s personal life, I can well imagine by extension the effect of its application to virtually every field of endeavor, on every scale of magnitude.
For example, therapists and other professional change agents would find it useful as a diagnostic analytical tool. Asking clients to picture themselves and the organizations which affect them would help them better understand themselves as well as their relationships with others; it would also indicate what interventions are best recommended.
The vitally important, thought-provoking and soul-searching (sometimes difficult but always rewarding) questions stimulated by working with the Wheel are seemingly endless. For example:
Do my core values radiate from the inside out? Do they connect the outside world with my inner life? Am I consistent in theory and practice? Do I live true to my beliefs? How deeply rooted are my convictions? Do I put them into practice only sometimes, at only some levels and in some areas of my life? Are there blind spots or inconsistencies which I need to address? What would be the benefits of doing so?
Do the groups with which I’m affiliated — family, social circles, religious institutions, businesses, clubs, corporations, local, state and national governments — each have a unifying purpose? Do they have more than one goal, for example an official, formally stated goal versus unwritten, informal rules and goals. If so, what are they? Or is the center hollow and void?
Which groups acknowledge the center and the inner authority of conscience? Which are dedicated to institutional and human authority? Which organization serve its individual members? Which use them to institutional ends? With what consequences to my personal well-being?
On which levels (if any) do each of these groups serve me. On all or only some levels — spiritual, mental-psychological and/or social-material? Do any of them improve (or threaten) my chances of ultimate survival? If so, in what way(s)?
In each case, is the organization’s stated or unstated/unofficial goal properly placed at the center of its wheel? Is it actually put into practice? Or merely given lip-service, used as distracting window dressing to disguise unacceptable hidden agendas? What does a Wheel diagram of each organization look like? Does it resemble the Positive Paradigm or . . . something else? Whatever the case, what are the consequences to me and those I hold dear?
How consistent is the behavior of current leaders in any or all of these organizations with their written policies and/or spoken words? Are their words polarizing and extreme, or moderate, healing and harmonizing?
Do they tell me whatever I want to hear, the better to manipulate me. Or do they give me the facts? Are the results of their conduct unifying or fragmenting? (“By their works ye shall know them.”)
Are the levels of my personal and/or organization’s wheel prioritized correctly? Or are they inverted, placing material values at the center, and ego over the general good? Is my lifestyle consistent with my personal and/or organization’s purpose? Do my choices and/or my leaders’ requirements support my personal beliefs and values, or undermine them? What are the consequences? Are their better choices? What am I going to do about this, and when?
What’s wrong with this picture? Are the resources, human and material, needed to complete my ideal picture in place? If not, are they available? How are they obtained?
Are there sectors of my personal and/or most influential organizations’ wheels that shouldn’t be there? Have they become irrelevant, contradictory, self-defeating or counter-productive? Should they be eliminated? Should they be replaced?
What levels and sectors should be there, but aren’t? To what extent are some underdeveloped?
How congruent are my personal and/or organization’s defining values with both the immediate situation and with projected future directions? To the extent that goals are out of synch with present circumstances, what steps are necessary to bring them into alignment? What are the consequences of failing to take these steps?
How urgent are the actions which are necessary to bring the personal and/or organizational wheels that affect my well-being into balance? What are the consequences of avoiding these questions and continuing to procrastinate?
Bottom Line: What will it take to restore simplicity, harmony and consistency in my life? What am I willing to DO about this, and when?
The current shift toward a unified, holistic approach to organization and action is evolving organically. It’s my best hope that adding the Positive Paradigm Model to the mix will facilitate and accelerate that process. After all, as I learned at Oberlin College, ideas have the power to alter the course of history.
But the Positive Paradigm needn’t – shouldn’t – be forced on anyone institutionally. It’s just a matter of getting the idea “out there.” The advantages and benefits of making the paradigm shift, as well as the dangers of continuing on the current collision course of history, speak for themselves.
In the Positive Paradigm of Change worldview, salvation is necessary achieved from the inside out and one person at a time. Individual survivors self-select on the basis of their right choices and consistent positive action. Attempts to enforce any paradigm institutionally is inconsistent with positive vision.
Thus, in Positive Paradigm context, the politically expedient, intellectually fabricated concept of collective salvation is gravely unnatural. Nor have I ever encountered it anywhere in scriptures. At first blush, the theory of collective salvation may be seductive. Like poisonous red berries in the wild, its flashy good looks attract but feed no natural hunger. It goes against the grain of humanity’s deepest, fundamental values: free-will, self-responsibility and personal choice. This mistaken notion may erroneously seem to serve the rationalized ego-interests of wanna-be tyrants. However, collective salvation is both metaphysically incorrect and (thankfully) impossible to achieve.
During my Freshman year at Oberlin College, Professor Barry McGill, a tall, pencil thin, bespectacled – daunting, demanding – professor of European History, made a lasting impression. He drilled students on the important effect pendulum swings between extremes have had on history.
He was emphatic that ideas have the power to alter the course of history. Philosophers have a profound effect on the forms governments take and how leaders treat their people.
Long before Hegel wrote about dialectics, which in turn influenced Marx, a triad of medieval scholars – St. Augustine, Abelard and St. Aquinas– completed the classic example of contrasting philosophies regarding what can be known, by whom, and how. Their different approaches to epistemology demonstrate how the levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel relate and operate.
On one extreme, St. Augustine’s approach was faith-based. He depended exclusively upon his belief in God. Knowledge was a result of divine grace. “I believe that I may know.” Faith in God is prior and necessary to human endeavors. His primary reality rested at the center of the wheel and extended outwards from it to include the surface of the physical, manifested world.
Abelard took the extreme opposite approach. Man, he held, depends on observable things and tangible experience to acquire knowledge. This is the exclusively superficial, materialistic position of “modern” research science. Importantly, however, Abelard held that from experience, the thoughtful man is led to deduce the necessary existence of God. He started at the wheel’s surface and pushed inwards to complete the circuit.
St. Aquinas, in what was called “the great reconciliation,” concluded that there was no genuine conflict between the other two philosophies. Knowledge is a two-way street. The center and surface are connected. No matter where you start, each position leads to and connects with the other. Knowledge is an infinite loop. This is the Positive Paradigm view.
When I took the Education Policy seminar on the Origin and Future of Universities, I wrote a paper that applied the “great reconciliation” to the evolution of educational institutions. It included an illustration that showed a bell-shaped, recurring curve of history. (See Figure II.15.)
A horizontal line drawn through the center of the curve represented the balancing mean between extremes. At one extreme, below the line, was the European dark ages, dominated exclusively by church policies and faith-based religious rules of knowing.
At the other extreme, hovering above the center line, was 17th century opposite and equal imbalance. At this time, intellectuals, reacting to medieval abuses, rejected not only organized religion but also faith, replacing them with the extreme of reasoned materialism.
The balance point between extremes was period of renaissance, literally rebirth. It was a time of paradigm shift. The origin of universities took place during a time when the rules were in flux. It was fair game to access both sides of the coin, so to speak. There was no perceived conflict between faith and reason. The result was a time of creative flowering in both the arts and sciences. Separation of church and state was a non-existent issue.
Currently, we’ve crossed the median line. We’re headed south. The very real dangers of the next dark age looms ahead. Any one (or a combination) of natural and/or man-made disasters could wipe civilization as we know it off the map.
Without electricity, computers, libraries and conventional social structures to support learning, the Positive Paradigm of Change could make the all difference. It encapsulates the best of human knowledge. It transmits the most essential basics of our common human heritage. It is a simple, complete and viable road map upon which future generations can rebuild.
Were anarchy to descend as a result of cultural breakdown, the Positive Paradigm shows how to cope when no external structures exist. This worldview accurately instills confidence in the source of inner strength upon which we will have to depend if we are to survive. It could turn a time of nightmares into the opportunity to restore balance, a renaissance blessing in disguise.
Essays Sketches on Positive Action sums up the substance of the balance ideal reflected in popular science “fiction:”
HALF-BRAINED IS HALF-ASSED. Indiana Jones blends the best of right and left brain worlds. He and Nazi opponents search out the arc of the covenant, then the grail. The enemy wants the key to world domination; Indy and his beloved father seek “illumination.” They not only study ancient civilizations, but adventure to recover hidden treasures.
To become a Jedi knight, Luke SkyWalker trains to attune himself to “the force.” Intellectuals who contempt practical people and workers who despise the educated are equally half-brained. Well-educated leaders and street-smart front-liners fighting the war that counts in inner city trenches and rural outposts must join ranks.
Patton, the general who stopped Hitler, quoted scriptures like a bishop, knew Shakespeare’s verse by heart.
Democracy and the Positive Paradigm
Biographer Walter Isaacson describes Einstein’s respect for the fundamental genius of democracy.38 During the 1950s, anti-communist witch-hunts threatened to unbalance America’s reason, reminiscent of pre-Nazi Germany of the 1930s. But the madness subsided, thanks to founders’ genius in creating a three-part constitutional balance amongst its governing parts.
America, Einstein observed, can be swept up in the waves of dangerous political passions. “But those sentiments pass, absorbed by its democracy and righted by its constitutional gyroscope.” ”Somehow,’ Einstein wrote, ‘they manage to return to normality.'”
In another venue, it would be highly beneficial to rethink America’s three-part balance of constituent parts in light of the Positive Paradigm. However, here it must suffice to revisit the substance of essays from The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide: FREEDOM (Essay 40) and its shadow, SLAVERY (Essay 15).
The most precious and only inalienable freedom is the self-mastery attained by thinking and acting consistently from a paradigm that is simple, complete and correct.
Even in a society that calls itself democratic, to the extent that we’re unaware of our innermost center and the dynamics of natural change that affect human behavior, we’re not really free. Certainly saying and doing whatever one wants as a puppet of blind impulse isn’t true freedom. Seeing through negative filters of greed and pride is as limiting as literal blindness.
Internally, freedom begins with operating on a Positive Paradigm which dispels the suffering born of ignorance and fear. Internal freedom necessarily precedes sustainable external liberty. Both are the product of persistent effort and ongoing maintenance. Neither can ever be taken for granted. Throwing off the yoke of one oppressor is no guarantee that the next wanna-be tyrant isn’t waiting in the wings, sniffing out weaknesses to exploit.
Just as freedom wasn’t guaranteed forever when Americans won the Revolutionary War, slavery wasn’t totally abolished when the North defeated the South in the Civil War. Not possible. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry observed that the American Civil War didn’t end slavery. It’s as pervasive now as ever.
Slavery has just mutated into more invisible and effective forms, those of mind and attitude, more cost-effective and convenient to overlords than ever. Workers are still exploited. But under the banner of democracy and freedom, corporate slave-holders are no longer obliged to pay for their slaves’ room and board.
Like peace, love and unity, freedom is a state attained on the inside first, only then reflected in external circumstances. Freedom is a state of in-dependence, depending on inner resources for guidance, protection and peace.
The freedom sages seek is the cessation of negative, involuntary patterns of behavior. Breaking the enslaving chains of destructive cause and effect requires focus combined with self-honesty, disciplined self-correction and forgiveness of oneself and others. Then comes the responsibility to follow through, letting inner changes manifest with positive effect in daily action.
Those secure in themselves naturally dedicate their lives to extending the freedom they value for themselves to others without prejudice. Abraham Lincoln, for example, had the soul of a sage. He wrote, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”
Nelson Mandela, another sage, gave us proof that it’s not circumstances which enslave. He gave the world a shining example of attaining inner freedom as a precursor to achieving freedom from incarceration, and then serving others on the freedom path. He described jail time as a blessing in disguise: an opportunity to be still, listen to conscience, and self-correct:
Especially for those of us who lived in single cells, we discovered that sitting down just to think is one of the best ways of keeping yourself fresh . . . to address the problems facing you.
You could stand away from yourself in the past and examine whether your behavior was befitting to a person who tried to serve society. — Nelson Mandela, on Larry King Live
In contrast, Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated political agitation as a way to drive social change. Correctly, he insisted that America had to reexamine the myth of democracy:
There were slaves when [the Declaration of Independence] was written; there were still slaves when it was adopted; and to this day, black Americans have not life, liberty, nor the privilege of pursuing happiness. . . agitation is requiring America to reexamine its comforting myths and may yet catalyze the drastic reforms that will save us from social catastrophe.– Martin Luther King, Jr. The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr
However, what he overlooked in this particular case is that most Americans are not and never have been genuinely free. Exploitation isn’t exclusively race or gender-related behavior. Men and women exploit each other. So do adults and their children. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Middle-Easterners and Asians of every creed will each turn on any of the other groups (or on their own, for that matter) to get what they think they want.
Worse, on another front, democracy is being systematically undermined. Since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, political leaders have been influenced by his advisor, Edward Bernays, the father of spin. In the ultimate double-speak contradiction, Bernays actually wrote that the manipulating of public opinion (propaganda sanitized as “public relations”) is a necessary part of democracy:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. . . . we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind. [emphasis added.]
Ironically, two of the most notable of these puppet masters were Jewish WWII holocaust survivors. The choices of Henry Kissinger and George Soros stand in stark contrast to Albert Einstein’s response to Nazi persecution. Tellingly, both Kissinger and Soros altered their birth names and to a large extent denied their birth identities. It’s as if they chose to see misfortune as proof that God had abandoned them, so they had to fend for themselves. In Positive Paradigm context, believing they were cut off from the center has made it so.
However, neither has succeeded in escaping Hitler’s influence. In reaction to suffering, rather than choosing compassion, each apparently converted to the dark side, imitating Hitler’s megalomaniac obsession with power. By so doing, it seems as if they’ve inadvertently become instruments of Hitler’s demonic possession. Their actions reflect the same destructive impulse to dominate and control the world.
For Heinz Alfred (a/k/a Henry) Kissinger, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” According to The Trial of Henry Kissinger, as President Nixon’s unelected Secretary of State, he demonstrated utter lack of regard for democracy, the rule of law and due process. He’s described as a man devoid of compassion. His career has been devoted to accruing wealth while helping genocidal tyrants get and hold onto power. He’s done perhaps more than any other human being to increase worldwide despair and suffering.
Christopher Hitchens described war crimes for which Kissinger deserves prosecution. In addition, he lists documented offenses against customary and international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture for personal and political ends, in direct opposition to American national interests.39
While Kissinger established himself inside American government, György Schwartz (a/k/a George Soros) has played out Bernays’ description of invisible puppet masters in the literal extreme. Like Kissinger, Soros acts as if above the law. However, Soros takes megalomania to the next level, repeatedly owning his messianic drive. He describes himself as God-like. (This from a man who claims to be an atheist!)
He’s publically stated that he wants to be the “conscience of the world” — a presumption in equal parts preposterous and dangerous given his destructive goals and unscrupulous behavior. (How implausible is this? The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded not only to Kissinger, but also in 2009, unearned, to as yet unknown and untested Soros-funded puppet-Obama .)
As documented by his own writings and admissions, and detailed by Glenn Beck,40 Soros has accrued a fortune through deception, at the cost of great international suffering. He’s used that money to build an intricate network of propaganda-spinning media and political organizations.
The middle step of his shadow government’s agenda is to undermine and eventually dismantle American political parties, along with the operations of American government. He rationalizes that he’s doing this to further humanitarian, democratic ends.
The ultimate goal? Like Wilson, Soros is pushing for a one world government. An who might the puppet master pulling the strings of the Soros-puppet be? The long-heralded anti-Christ, perhaps?
Be that as it may, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s observation: It may seem that puppet masters can get away with fooling some of the people all of the time. And for a short while, with controlling all of the general public some of the time. BUT they can’t pull the wool over all of our eyes all of the time. Ultimately, their deceptive manipulations will backfire. Whatever the terrible cost to others, they will come to naught, as did Hitler.
Bottom line: exploitation is an energy dynamic a symptom of self-destructive imbalance. To the extent that individuals operate on incomplete, inaccurate and false paradigms, they remain insecure, unconscious and functionally disconnected from their higher potentials.
Out of that pain and suffering, like Kissinger, like Soros in the extreme, they will continue to feel justified in dominating, controlling and exploiting whomever they can, however they can — playing out power addictions with hypocritical talk of philanthropy.
Affirmative Action legislation has not changed these dynamics — nor, as discussed earlier, could it. Looking in the wrong places doesn’t help. Blaming outside enemies as an excuse to avoid self-examination and correction is a futile waste of precious time and energy. Although venting frustration in politically motivated social movements — even terrorism and outright war — may temporarily feel good, it doesn’t address the underlying paradigm deficiency that drives hatred, violence and injustice. It therefore can’t put an end to catastrophic outcomes.
Nor do drastic punitive sanctions affect positve change. Quite the opposite. They’re guaranteed to set historical pendulum swings of opposite and equal reactions in motion. Incremental and thoughtful change from the inside out, one individual at a time, consistent with the Positive Paradigm of Change, is the way to restore sustainable power to the people with genuinely unifying effect.
The Key to Everything
My “take away” from yoga years was the parable of a young boy who asked his teacher, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known.” The implication to this question, put forth in the ancient Sanskrit Mandukya Upanishad,41 is that, with the right key, everything can be known.
It reminded me of the medieval masterpiece in the Prado Museum that grabbed my mind earlier, the one which showed me that it’s possible to see with a larger point of view, beyond time, where all history is like a static painting and everything is actually going on at the same time.
I ardently wanted that key to life and the universe. I asked myself this question over and over and compared everything I read to this standard.
Years ago, I put the question to a wise friend, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?” His cryptic reply: “Look it up in the encyclopedia.”
“Huh?” I parsed this one-liner for every hint and clue. What does this riddle in answer to a riddle mean? “Look up?” And “en-cyclo-pedia?” That which encircles (cyclo, cycles). The foundation (feet – pedia) — the fundamental base which supports the whole body. The functional impetus of movement and action.
According to Webster’s dictionary, “encyclopedic” means “comprehensive in scope.” All-encompassing view. Aha! I got it!The Positive Paradigm is the answer to the riddle. Look there.
I’m now convinced that the Positive Paradigm of Change is the ultimate answer to the ancient ultimate question. It’s the literal proof that humans are made in the image of the Creator — the microcosm resonates with the macro. I AM that I AM.
Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” In this context, the exhortation, “Ye must be perfect like your Father in Heaven” makes perfect sense.
Just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.
And tyrants want you to sleep on. They’ll do anything to prevent you from remembering that you’re inherently okay. Because once you do, as Einstein did, no one can intimidate, control or dominate you. You’re aware that nothing anyone has for sale can make you more perfect. Nor can anything that anyone threatens to take away alter your essential okayness.
It’s your inalienable birthright. A given.
The Positive Paradigm is the viable basis upon which to build valid self-esteem. It’s the key to personal freedom — freedom from ignorance, freedom from fear. It’s the rock-solid foundation of functional democracy. It’s grounds for rethinking what the word really means and how to implement its promise.
One minor caveat: it all depends. While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up. Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.
But, like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, when you want dearly enough to return “home,” you can click your heels whenever you chose — and come to find out, you’re already there.
Context and Timeliness
The Positive Paradigm expresses the eternal key in a form appropriate to the needs of today’s complex, conflict-ridden world. Just as Christ came to fulfill the law given to Moses, not to challenge it, so the eight thousand year-old Book of Change, its much later off-shoot, the Tao Te Ching, and current day Positive Paradigm of Change all express that same eternal law. There’s no conflict or contradiction, only an evolving continuum of time-appropriate ways to honor the timeless perennial philosophy.
The Positive Paradigm model answers Bill O’Reilly’s implicit question. During a 60 Minutes interview on CBS, Norah O’Donnell asked for his take-away from Killing Jesus.42
His response: “The Christian savior was able to attract a following and a level of popularity that nobody to date has replicated.”
O’Reilly’s phenomenal success rides on technology earlier unknown. But, “He had no infrastructure,” O’Reilly marveled. “. . . He had no government, no PR guy, no money, no structure. He had nothing, yet he became the most famous human being ever.”
How can this be?
The level from which Christ broadcasts explains his extraordinary influence both then and now. His consciousness originates deep within the Wheel of Life. It radiates from a place beyond time and space in all directions, permeating the entire field of creation, touching everyone everywhere. (See Figure II.18.) This explains the literal truth in his promise, that he would be with us always, even to the end of days.
The Positive Paradigm also gives us a picture of how disciples’ reports of Christ’s death and resurrection can be literally true. Accomplished meditation practitioners withdraw attention from the physical body and then return to ordinary consciousness on a daily basis. A true master of the change process controls the in-breathing return to the creative source and out-breathing reemergence into the material plane of physical experience. Proof of this mastery is the demonstrated ability to die to the physical body and then return.
Yogic literature is full of stories about masters who chose the time of their physical departure as well as the time, place and circumstances of their next incarnation. In this, Christ’s example is not unheard of.
It’s motive and effect that make his story unique. His was an act of supreme self-sacrifice and compassion for self-doomed humanity. It bought all of us one last hope of survival — a final opportunity to WAKE UP in time to prevent ultimate extinction — being erased from the cycle of life altogether.
What’s critically important to remember here is that the example of his sacrifice speaks to everyone, everywhere. Jesus did not perform his apparent miracle to set himself above and apart from humanity. Quite the contrary. He did it to set an example of what’s possible, with the command that each of us should follow in his footsteps. “Ye must be perfect like your father.”
The Positive Paradigm is a model of potentials within each of us which make this command viable. The dynamic, creative process is on-going. The pattern of continuous regeneration is the deepest heritage of every individual. Whether aware of it or not, we continuously, daily, with every breath. We release and die to the old in order to regenerate and be reborn to the new.
By extension, Christ’s example of mastering the change process applies not only to individuals but to the civilization as a whole. The world as we know it seems threatened, as if coming to an end. Yet those who hold the key to life and the universe, like modern day Noahs, have the opportunity — and responsibility — to ride the tide of the times and begin again, not just for themselves, but for the sake of all life on Earth. They are the ultimate survivors who have it in their power to reseed the next generation, perpetuating the wheel of life.
I survived the desert of high school years, knowing things would get better. After all, my pious Aunt Esther had promised that life gets better every year. My story still isn’t over. I’m not 70 yet, though getting close. Many of the questions asked in early years have been answered.
Yet every time I revisit scriptures, or query about an immediate challenge and apply a familiar reading to a new situation, I go, “Oh! That’s what it means!” And I shift, changing with the times as I continue to adjust and grow in my understanding. This is my concept of positive change.
The key is to know where to look for positive answers. Like O’Henry’s short story, “The Purloined Letter,” what seems to be missing may be hidden in plain sight, while clever people continue to search in unlikely places.
Like Einstein, who knew the Unified Theory had to be there, but looked for it in the wrong places, we’re reluctant to think outside the box of our comfortably familiar paradigms. It takes a rethinking of our dysfunctional assumptions. But, as Einstein warned us, the stakes could not be higher.
The key to the Unified Field theory wasn’t to be found in ever more intricate math equations, with which Einstein tenaciously continued to experiment to the very last. It was to be found elsewhere, in the repository of the perennial philosophy, preserved in yogic scriptures recorded in a distant time and place.
Just so, the key to current predicaments is in a place no one has previously thought to explore. It has been here all the time. It requires seekers who see with fresh eyes to rediscover what’s been hiding in plain sight, recognize its value and say, “Oh!”
It’s been said that Confucius wished for another seventy years of life to deepen his understanding of The Book of Change. But, like life itself, the I Ching and its offshoot, the Positive Paradigm of Change, are inexhaustible. A bottomless well.
I wish the same good fortune they have brought to me on those with the common sense to come to good terms the old-new perennial philosophy in whatsoever form works best for them. May they take its wisdom seriously, act on it and benefit as much as possible during the life-span they’re allotted.