Tag Archives: balance

History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

A recent post described the unfortunate end of Abelard, the medieval philosopher best known for his tragic love of Heloise.

Out of synch with his times, this celebrated cleric taught that men gain knowledge – including faith – through reason. For this, he was convicted by his monastic superiors of heresy. Abelard’s books were banned and burned. He died shortly afterwards in prison.

St. Augustine’s exclusively faith-based Rules of the Knowledge Game were balanced with Abelard’s opposite approach only after St. Aquinas harmonized the two extremes. According to the new Rules, no matter where you start, each approach leads to and reinforces the other.

This broad-based approach to knowing as a two-way street set the foundation for the flowering of arts, sciences and commerce known as the 12th Century Renaissance.

But, I suspect you’re wondering by now, is medieval history relevant NOW?

It’s highly relevant, particularly when taken in the context of patterned, repeating cycles of human behavior. Learning the basic lessons of history is an important way of leveraging the future.

Back to the 12th Century Renaissance. It was during this time of creative balance that universities evolved to replace monasteries as centers of learning.

I’ve thought about this a lot. The Origin and Future of Universities was the dissertation topic of my choice. In my proposal, I drew a bell-shaped curve that cycled above and below a median-line that represented historical times of creative balance between extremes. It looked like this:

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In the late 1970’s, when I wrote my proposal, universities were at a critical point of intersection. There was still a window of time left during which to mitigate a predictably dangerous direction of change, before a narrow window of opportunity closed.

Humanistic psychology and holistic health movements were leading the way towards another reintegration of faith and logic — a reconciliation of intuitive and rational ways of knowing. On the one hand, I held hopes that another creative renaissance was on the horizon. On the other, I foresaw the possibility that the curve would cross the median balance point and continue its downward slope, plunging the world into another dark ages of fanaticism and intolerance.

Departmental politics prevented me from writing the dissertation of my choice. (That story and its implications, however, are a different subject.) What’s pertinent here is the outcome. The window of opportunity has closed. Proof abounds. For example, during the Arab Spring, disillusioned Muslims who at first had welcomed violence as an opportunity for positive change were horrified at the repressive results. One Egyptian commented to a reporter that his country had entered a new dark age. News here and abroad continues to confirm that downward trend.

What remains are the mitigating possibilities open to I Ching users. The Chinese Book of Change keeps self-honest seekers in synch with the times, giving them survival insights and hints as to where to look for respite from the worst that might yet come. It keeps hope for the positive change we persist in holding dear to our hearts alive.

Here’s the key. Patterns codified in The Book of Change repeat on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the same seasonal cycles repeat in an individual’s life. They also repeat in families, in the work place, in governments and even in the history of civilizations.

So even when the times are dangerously out of joint, individuals can still change for the better. So can intentional communities. So long as there’s this hope, it’s never to late. In the early dark ages, for example, monasteries were islands of hope, civility and sanity in a violent, barbaric world. Their equivalents might again serve the same purpose.

Further, personal, organizational and historical rhythms aren’t necessarily in synch. This explains why the same view is welcome at one place or time, but not in others. Abelard’s emphasis on reason, for example, would have been in synch in 17th century universities even though they were fatally out of harmony with beliefs held in the monastic circles of his day.

This information holds good or bad news, depending on whether it’s recognized and how it’s used. On one hand, acting as if personally preferred realities are fact, regardless of whether or not they’re in synch with the times, is unrealistic. For example, New-Agers who ardently believe the near future promises a widespread renaissance of human upliftment are quite probably mistaken. Worse, they may be misleading followers who will find themselves unfit and unprepared to survive in an increasingly intolerant, dark ages environment.

But on the other, positive side, it’s still possible, even as a dark age of fanaticism is gaining ground, to maintain personal balance. Personal renaissance – literally re-birth – is possible at any split second in time. Even when social trends are devolving into extremes, individuals aren’t required to forsake the ideal of personal integration just to fit in. In fact, personal and community survival may well depend on the capacity to maintain stable balance even in the most unbalanced of times.

Of a certainty, heightened, intentional balance will be essential to personal survival, even and especially as dark times cloud collective reason and threaten to extinguish faith.

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Scientists & Sages Can Agree on This

Today’s effort started with a most excellent blog tweeted out by Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors: “The essence of #leadership in a single word blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=2696.

It looked interesting, so I clicked on the link.

Yup. The major puzzle pieces are there. Vision. Strategy. Idea. Inspiration. Speaking directly to my subject, he states, “Leadership is about change.”

So I tweeted back, “I totally agree about inspiration and change, Mike. But then, how do we train such leaders?? I have a few suggestions. All best.”

Within a day, Mike tweeted back,“Post them somewhere, Pat . . .”

So here’s my short version of how to train leaders who are equally inspired and effective — a picture worth a thousand words.

The BEST LEADERS ARE SELF-AWARE

061614 Wheel

BE AWARE of

What You’re Doing and Why

The Life Wheel, the Positive Paradigm of Change, is a modern day descendant of the time-tested Book of Change that leaders have consulted for over eight-thousand years.

It places the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 mass, energy and light, on increasingly deeper levels within the Wheel. The result is the Unified Theory which Einstein already had, though, sadly, lacking yoga background, didn’t recognise. This wheels-within-wheels model is equally compatible with modern physics, yoga philosophy and the world’s great religions. It is a reality map upon which scientists and sages can agree.

  • The intuition Mike describes fits within the WHY level of the Wheel. This innermost level of Light is associated with spiritual guidance and flashes of genius. Unless integrated with the ability to strategize and implement, however, vision and insights fail to manifest as practical results.
  • Emotions (including empathy) and strategy belong to the middle HOW level. The Energy layer is associated with street smarts and Emotional Intelligence. Magnetism and charisma emanate from this level, but unfortunately aren’t always integrated with integrity, intelligence and practical organizational skills.
  • Purpose and outcomes belong to the surface WHAT level associated with tangible, measurable results. The Mass layer is the realm of quantifiable IQ as well as biological family and social/political connections. Persona (mask) and personality are surface appearances. They don’t necessarily reflect actual motives and feelings. (This is why merely imitating the words and actions of great leaders doesn’t have the same affect).

The three outer levels are interrelated and interdependent. Each is necessary but not sufficient. Their existence depends on the unchanging hub of the Life Wheel. The true SELF — also called Conscience, the Tao or God — holds the spokes together as events on the Wheel’s surface rim change continuously. Creation in the form of primal consciousness emanates from and returns to this silent alpha-omega center.

Inspired leaders are Self-aware. Positive leaders link inner vision with compassion to generate practical results. They serve as organizational catalysts, bringing out the best in others by example. Like stringed instruments, we resonate when true leaders strike a universal chord, set in motion by a deeper music.

This paradigm of completion is “positive” because all the levels of experience are included and correctly prioritized. None are excluded. None are out of place. The levels are harmoniously linked in an infinite, two-way continuum of creative balance. (This is the holistic picture of unity or “yoga.”) Mindful of Einstein’s warning that problems cannot be solved at the same level they are created, it pictures the deeper levels where we can first get unstuck, and then travel deeper to where the genuine solutions we dearly need and seek can be found.

Prophetically, Einstein warned about the dangers of inverted priorities: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Today, more than ever, the world urgently needs leaders who remember their gifts and use reason correctly.

An important first step in training better leaders is to convince educators/executives/politicians and their students/employees/supporters of the grave dangers inherent in prevailing, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms. Then, it requires rousing sufficient courage to make a paradigm shift.

What could be more powerful motivation than the pending threat to human survival?! For today’s un-in-formed leaders are undeniably steering planet Earth towards a catastrophic disaster that dwarfs the Titanic’s collision. Einstein wasn’t exaggerating when he observed, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Decision-makers and leaders in every walk of life can make themselves whole by using the method outlined in The Positive Paradigm Handbook. In addition, it gives a practical standard for assessing leadership potentials, training better leaders, and choosing which ones to follow.

All best!

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Snippets from The Positive Paradigm Handbook

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WHY PARADIGMS MATTER

Ideas drive results. People’s beliefs drive their actions.

Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity.

Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation.

As detailed in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change, a fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed.

Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other.

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The TWIN BASICS of POSITIVE CHANGE

Inside to Out. Individual change begins from the inside and radiates outwards from the central hub of the Positive Paradigm Wheel. Light initiating from the silent innermost center extends outwards. Guidance and inspiration are articulated in language. These ideas, expressed with genius and passionate conviction, drive motivated action that manifests in positive results.

Smallest to Largest. Transformation begins with the smallest unit, the individual. Therefore, the quality of family life depends on the functional integrity of each family member. Large organizations are improved by first improving the quality of family life. Qualitative reform of whole nations is achieved only by restoring the internal integrity of their agencies and supporting business connections.

Einstein’s New Way of Thinking

Human survival, Einstein warned us, cannot be taken for granted. Tipping the scales of history in favor of survival depends on freeing ourselves from the mental prison of limited, delusional thinking:

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.

The Positive Paradigm of Change pictures Einstein’s widened circle of compassion, complete with his magical, magnetic all-encompassing center.

It’s also the answer to comparative religion legend Joseph Campbell’s prescient hint:

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.

In the interests of human survival, the purpose of The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change is to make this new way of thinking as widely known and usefully available as possible.

The Who, When, How, What and Why

Logical questions then follow. Who should use The Positive Paradigm Handbook? When should the Handbook be used and how? What are the benefits? Why is this method of “thinking like a genius” so effective?

Who? The Handbook is intended for self-selected survivors with the heartfelt desire to improve themselves and the courage to rethink their lives. Everyone everywhere with basic English language skills and a commitment to ensuring survival for themselves and those they care for can and should use The Positive Paradigm Handbook.

As the next-generation Book of Change, the Handbook is especially useful to those in responsible leadership positions as well as those who advise them. However, it is equally useful to truth seekers and decisions-makers in every walk of life.

The Handbook should be required reading for young people who need to understand the way the world really works and how they fit in.

When? It’s natural to cling to what’s already known and familiar, especially when it seems as if there’s no better solution to an admittedly bad situation. Many find the possibility of extinction so threatening that they refuse to even think about it.

However, this doesn’t make danger disappear. It just leaves escapists unprepared to face inevitable change. Regardless of what may or may not come, denial, resistance and procrastination are a dangerous waste of precious time.

Once it’s accepted that there is a hopeful and positive approach to facing today’s dangers, the time to work with the Handbook and internalize this worldview is NOW.

What? As the title suggests, the end result of using the Handbook is restored wholeness. The process of comparing one’s immediate personal organization to the Positive Paradigm standard of completeness is a means for recognizing excesses and deficiencies, the better to correct them, thus restoring balance, integration and harmony to the whole. Benefits from using the Handbook are cumulative. Depending on diligence and frequency of use, they increase exponentially.

On the one hand, intentionally aligning and linking the levels of experience will increase self-awareness, improve relationships and lead to effective decision-making. On the other, as beliefs and actions become significantly the less fragmented, the side-effects of stress and related mental/physical disease will decrease accordingly.

Why? In part, working with the Wheel of Change remedies the right- and left-brain imbalances that lead to dysfunctional results. Plugging left-brain language into the right-brain imagery of concentric circles has the balancing effect of stimulating both sides of the brain simultaneously. Further, diminishing the noise of emotional pain and overcoming the dichotomies of either/or thinking opens access to the innermost realms of conscience and the inspirational guidance associated with great leaders and inventive genius.

 

Rethinking ACTION

One of the 64 Essays on Change is posted each consecutive Sunday. The choice is decided either by requests made on the Contact Page and/or immediate relevance to current events. See the UPSG Essays page for a description of the structure-within-structure format of the Essays, an overview of CONSCIENCE: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide, and an alphabetical list of the Essays from which to choose.

On the new moon of March 9, 2014, the first of the Essays to be posted was Number 61 on PEACE. It was selected as a timely response to events in the Ukraine. The following Sunday, the very first Essay, CRIME, was selected, followed by its companion Essay Number 18 on MOTIVES.

The final Essay, Number 64 has been selected for Sunday, March 30th, the second new moon in the month of March. It completes a triad that started with CRIME, then MOTIVES, and now, consequent ACTION. This Essay has immediate applications to the progression of world events.

Bloggers have likened Putin’s actions to the strategy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. America’s leaders have been faulted for lacking the ability to think in terms of positive action responses. It therefore behooves everyone, everywhere with an eye to the future, in the interests of human survival, to fill in that void.

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64. ACTION

“Military action is important to the nation — it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it. . . The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership, so that they will share death and share life, without fear of danger.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The warrior is always alert. He is always awake. He knows how to focus his mind and his body. He is what the samurai call “mindful.” . . . As a function of his clarity of mind, he is a strategist and a tactician. He can evaluate his circumstances accurately and then adapt himself to the “situation on the ground.” — Moore & Gillette, The Warrior in His Fullness

“We cannot stop the seasons of history, but we can prepare for them. Right now, in 1997, we have eight, ten, perhaps a dozen more years to get ready. Then events will begin to take choices out of our hands. Yes, winter is coming, but our path through the winter is up to us. . . History’s howling storms can bring out the worst and best in a society.” — Strauss & Howe, The Fourth Turning

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines action on a sliding scale of meanings. Taking in the full spectrum as a whole is an eye-opener. Originally it was a physics concept, the state of being in motion. From there the definition changes to habitual conduct characterized by energy and boldness. It changes again to include the effect produced by something (like a drug), or the way organs or machines work.

Action is used to describe the function of a piano or a gun. It shifts to take on the connotation of a legal proceeding by which one seeks to have a wrong put right. It’s the term used to describe military combat. Lastly, in slang it denotes excitement, specifically gambling.

Over a life-time, novelist Earle Stanley Gardner worked to develop a best-seller formula: a virtuous hero whom everyone loves to see in action. The result, Attorney Perry Mason, solves crimes and puts wrongs right in the court of law. He’s a deliberate blending of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. Robin defended the betrayed and down-trodden. He took from the rich to give to the poor, helping them stand against oppressors. Sherlock used his highly trained powers of observation and deduction to trace devious crimes to the unseen hand of the evil Moriarty, then courageously drew the villain out to defeat him.

New law students are often grieved to find reality so far removed from fiction. Just so. Gardner knew people bought his books exactly because they longed for what’s missing in their lives. But fiction soothes without solving. The times call for a multitude of Positive Perrys taking positive action every day, here and now.

Movie action heroes also exemplify the intellect-action blend of leadership we miss. To become a Jedi knight, Luke SkyWalker first must train to attune himself to “the force.” Indiana Jones similarly blends the best of right and left brain worlds. Both 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 respect the wisdom of ancient times and adventure to recover lost treasures. The I Ching is another of the ancient lost treasures, both used and abused by seekers through the ages.

Unlike these action heroes, intellectuals who contempt practical people and workers who enviously mistrust the educated are equally lop-sided actors. For positive results, scholars and street-smart frontliners must join ranks. Better still, we should each train ourselves like action hero role models to balance self-awareness and action, to live fully effective, each in our own way.

George S. Patton, the general who defeated Hitler’s army, quoted scriptures like a bishop, knew Shakespeare’s verse by heart.

THE BACK

The opposite of action is inaction. This may be appropriate. Those who patiently wait also serve. Other times it’s due to indifference or paralysis of will. Procrastination, delaying action, may be a result of ambivalence. Lack of commitment or conflicting goals and beliefs often work unconsciously to sabotage consistent action.

A perversion of action is hyperactivity, sometimes the result of a chemical imbalance, other times an effort to avoid thinking. Restricting youthful energies, forcing children to sit too long inactive, can trigger rebellion as an extreme and opposite reaction to boredom.

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  • Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Thomas Cleary. (Shambhala: Boston, 1988.) p. 41.
  • Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, “The Warrior in His Fullness,” in The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion & Discipline, ed. Rick Fields. (Putnam’s Sons: New York, 1994.) pp. 29-30.
  • William Strauss & Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. (Broadway Books: New York,1997.) p. 7.