Tag Archives: communication

The Many Faces of Discrimination

Sorting Yourself Out, a fascinating conversation between Stefan Molyneux and Jordan Peterson, is a  demonstration of critical rational thinking at its best. In response, I’m sharing these earlier thoughts on reason and discrimination.

Up front, I’ll tell you, I’m not persuaded that critical thinking, even at its finest, is enough. I explained why in The Handbook:

Reason is necessary but not sufficient. When used to link the material surface with the middle and inner levels of the Life Wheel, it is a powerful tool. When turned against the life force, elevating itself as if it were the exclusive way of knowing, it presumes to judge what is beyond it. This is hubris, the catalyst of tragedy. [As bureaucratic regulations example] Rationality in the extreme changes into its opposite, producing desperately irrational results.

In Conscience, I elaborated on the uses and political abuses of reason:

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which defines the rules of knowledge at any given time/place, setting limits by its answers to these questions: What can be known, how, and by whom?

Answers have political overtones, often assigning roles according to class, race, age or gender. Rules governing who may know what drive cultural decisions regarding the distribution of wealth, power, social status and access to legal protections.

Empirical science respects only information known through reason. Universities train students to dissect and analyze with quantitative and verbal skills. At its best, reason is a tool of constructive discernment, capable of articulating both tangible and intangible information.

With proper training, it can be used to harness the sub-rational, serve the super-rational and link the two, balancing their extremes. As such, reason is a harmonizing function.

However, using reason to rule out, avoid or even demean awareness of sub- and super-rational experience is an abuse of the critical faculty.

Though this might sound dry in the abstract, the story excerpted in Rethinking Discrimination of my working as an Affirmative Action Consultant for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards gives it a human face.

Further, in The Tower of Babel Dilemma I wrote:

It seems to me that language has devolved into quite the opposite of the English I’d learned to love and respect in high school. There, we were taught to regard language as the premier tool of logic. When used with Sherlock-like diligence, applied the powers of keen observation and heightened awareness, it could solve mysteries — not only to detect the crimes of evil-doers and the nefarious plots of national enemies, but to unravel the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language is essential to cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is a necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on the return journey outwards to share results.

But even people with the best of intentions use the same words to mean very different things. They miss each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

. . . Instead of being used as a means for unifying human beings, language is often degraded into chaotic paralyzing noise – a weapon for stirring up animosities, division and confusion.

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As one example, the following Essay on Discrimination plugs the many definitions of the over-used and abused word “Discrimination” into the levels of the Life Wheel.

ESSAY 19. DISCRIMINATION

We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. . . this delusions is a kind of prison for us . . . Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion. . We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. — Albert Einstein

Dealing exclusively on a rational level with an issue like discrimination which is deeply emotion-laden (sub-rational) on the one hand, and highly value-laden (super-rational) on the other, fails to acknowledge and draw on the levels where problems begin and where solutions can be found. — Patricia West, Positive Action: The Next Generation

Seeing and hearing are like food and drink; you need them every day, but you also need to digest and eliminate them every day. If they are not digested and eliminated thoroughly, they remain in the gut, eventually producing illness.Taoist Meditation, trans. Thomas Cleary

THE FRONT

Three levels of definition attribute opposite, contradictory meanings to the single word discrimination. In the context of Affirmative Action legislation, failure to recognize and sort out this confusion has resulted in muddled perceptions its purpose, inconsistent implementation and half-hearted compliance.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s rational definition of discrimination posits a neutral function of mind. To discriminate is to distinguish with the mind or intellect; to perceive, observe, or note the difference in or between.

As an analytical tool, discrimination is the neutral function of mind used to dissect a situation’s parts and deduce cause/effect relationships amongst them. As a tool, effects of its use, whether creative or destructive, depend on motives and competence.

The final definition adds a preposition: against. To discriminate against is to make an adverse distinction in regard to, to distinguish unfavorably from others. This negative definition is the sub-rational use.

It describes abuse of the critical faculty of mind to separate, distance and subordinate others, and to rationalize exploitation. Discrimination as a function of biased, negative emotions such as fear, hate, envy, arrogance or greed is the polar opposite of objective analysis.

Still further from the rational meaning of discrimination is its super-rational definition. It is not included in The Oxford English Dictionary. However, in Eastern scriptures, the highest function of mind is called “buddhi” (hence the name Buddha), translated into English as “the power of discrimination.”

This usage alludes to the ability to see through deceptive illusions, to recognize the eternal in the midst of change, to be aware of all-pervading spirit operating within gross material forms.

While rational discrimination is neutral and sub-rational discrimination has separatist results, the super-rational function of discrimination is unifying in effect. Depending on the user’s mind-set, the I Ching can be used to serve rational, sub- or super-rational motives.

Ideally, it’s used to facilitate the process of mental metabolism. When the senses are overloaded with impressions, the Book of Change can be approached as a discipline for settling the mind and organizing one’s thoughts sufficiently to define the immediate situation and ask questions about it.

As negative emotions surface, they’re named and released, not unlike the process of separating toxins from useful nutrients, eliminating them as waste. Rational thoughts are then simplified, prioritizing essentials and aligning them to basic purpose. Then, when emotions and rational mind are harmonized and stilled, the higher mind is invoked. It is in this state of tranquil revere that one pierces the veil of ordinary thought, allowing the transcendent awareness attributed to genius to come forward.

Einstein, for example, acknowledged that his famous e = mc2 formula came in a flash of inspired contemplation. He faulted his peers for what he called the “fateful fear of metaphysics,” a pernicious prejudice that’s easily as dangerous as racism or sexism.

Here are levels of discrimination placed in their Life Wheel context:

Discrim2.jpg

THE BACK

Mercy and compassion ameliorate the effects of negative discrimination. Introspective activities like self-analysis and use of the I Ching promote the positive capacity to discriminate, make correct decisions, and act wisely. In human law, the opposite of discrimination is justice and equity. In an equitable society, wisdom is promoted as the foundation of harmony and order.

In an unjust world, the discipline of positive discrimination is neglected. Ruthless extortionists in positions of political power will kill to prevent discriminating thinkers from recognizing and opposing their abuses. Tyrants promote negative discrimination. They exploit hatred, weakening their people by turning them against each other, conquering by dividing them.

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Take the Best

grain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flower

PART ONE

GETTING THERE: WHO I AM TO SAY

PREFACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Tower of Babel Dilemma

tower-of-babel

There was quite a while when I didn’t speak with people, other than to exchange empty greetings and conduct routine business. I was so disillusioned, attempts to communicate about anything of substance seemed futile.

During this time, working with the Book of Change kept me in touch with the deeper, better side of myself and the universe. As this work led me to reestablish meaningful connection with others, my aspirations turned towards seeking ways to share this life-saving gift with others.

If the best I had to offer humanity was the same book which had served to keep me whole, how could I persuade others of its value? Whether intentionally or not, what I have come to call “The Tower of Babel Dilemma” – the degeneration and fragmentation of the English language – is a formidable obstacle to effective communication. Glib labels and false assumptions associated with the book led to out-of-hand rejection. “Foreign.” “Ancient.” “Unscientific.” “Unchristian.” “Pagan.” “Superstitious.” “Difficult.”

It seems to me that language has devolved into quite the opposite of the English I’d learned to love and respect in high school. There, we were taught to regard language as the premier tool of logic. When used with Sherlock-like diligence, applied the powers of keen observation and heightened awareness, it could solve mysteries — not only to detect the crimes of evil-doers and the nefarious plots of national enemies, but to unravel the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language is essential to cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is a necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on the return journey outwards to share results.

But even people with the best of intentions use the same words to mean very different things. They miss each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

Tracking the meanings of words, I was fascinated to find that their devolution is systematic. In some cases, the same word actually means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well.The “positive” word is an important example. Webster’s dictionary lists seventeen (!) contradictory uses.

Instead of being used as a means for unifying human beings, language is often degraded into chaotic paralyzing noise – a weapon for stirring up animosities, division and confusion.

So I set about to build the all-important groundwork for communicating about The Book of Change. I needed to rescue the language – restore it from its debased status as a smoke screen spun to camouflage self-serving intent. To this end, I outlined chapters for The Yoga Dictionary: Answering the Tower of Babel Dilemma.

As a reminder, the biblical story describes defiant humanity’s fall from unity into confusion and separation:

In Genesis, a united humanity speaking a single language and migrating eastward, came to the land of Shinar שנער‎‎. There they wanted to build a city and a tower “tall enough to reach heaven;” God, however, disapproved of such behavior as disrespectful, scrambled their speech so they could no longer understand each other and scattered them throughout the world.

The Sixty-Four Essays found in Part Two of Conscience are an off-shoot of this project. They’re meant to be used, as is the Book of Change itself, to cultivate mindfulness. They bring attention to the complexity of basic words we too often take take for granted and the critical importance of establishing a shared common ground of understanding.

Three-Part Format

Like the 64 images of the I Ching, each of the 64 Essays in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is self-contained – a miniature world complete. Each invites the reader to slow down and think carefully, taking the time to examine current beliefs and apply timeless wisdom to immediate personal experience.

There’s a method to the order of the Essays. Originally they were placed in a logical progression that seemed to tell a story. However, there’s no need to read them in sequential order. Using the Alphabetical Table of Contents is another option. If a particular subject stands out as immediately relevant or interesting, choose that one.

A three-part format gives each Essay structure-within-structure:

Part One. Though the Book of Change is dismissed as inaccessible and rarely taught in public schools, the number of influential thinkers whose ideas intuitively resonate with its timeless wisdom aren’t limited by either time or place. Quotes from the work of well-known figures serve as a springboard and bridge linking the familiar with the new.

Contrasting voices speaking to the same universal concerns highlight the yin-yang, old-new, East-West dynamic which everyone everywhere, deeper than deep, share in common.

Quotes from Chinese philosophers inspired by working directly with the I Ching include Confucius, Lao Tzu (The Tao Te Ching) and Sun Tzu (The Art of War).

Quotes from the Old and New Testament which resonate with I Ching wisdom include the Psalms of the musician/poet/ healer/warrior King David and the words of his direct descendant, Jesus Christ.

The Muslim tradition is represented, as are modern day medical practitioners, healers and teachers. Countless martial arts disciplines are based on I Ching science and philosophy, as are Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong. Bruce Lee‘s Jeet Kune Do is one well-known example.

Also included are voices of Westerners in synch with I Ching wisdom, from Plato and Christopher Columbus to William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein; from Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela; from Norman Vincent Peale to Peter Drucker, Scott Peck, Steven Covey, Jim Loehr, Norman Cousins, and Tony Robbins.

Voices of creative women in harmony with I Ching wisdom include those of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Naomi Judd and Oprah Winfrey.

Part Two. “The Front” examines a specific word’s meaning in depth, giving examples with emphasis on its use in I Ching context, elaborating on implications of the quotes. Quite often changes in meaning correlate with the evolutionary path of the chakra system, reflecting an increasing level of maturity and self-awareness.

Part Three. Just as the coins sometimes used to derive I Ching readings have two sides, every idea has its shadow, opposite side. Accordingly, a brief section called “The Back” balances The Front side of each Essay to round out the picture. It briefly describes each universal idea’s mirror opposite, as well as inversions and perversions.

angel-sized

Revisiting these concepts at this particularly dangerous window of time would be a particularly helpful investment of energy and attention, as the gap between an historical election and projected inauguration stands in the balance.

Let those with an ear to hear and heart to understand take heed.

Rethinking COMMUNICATION

The following essay from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is an appropriate companion to the article just posted on LinkedIn, “True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass To Overcome Confusion.” It opens with a question:

When others use the same word to mean different things, how do effective leaders bridge the gap to communicate clearly? If you’d like to see the rest, here’s the link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/true-leaders-trust-inner-compass-overcome-confusion-patricia-west?trk=prof-post

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Essay 32. COMMUNICATION

He who is learning to paint must first learn to still his heart, thus to clarify his understanding and increase his wisdom.” — The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, quoted by R.L. Wing.

Painting in China made it possible to manipulate the veil of appearances so that it might be pulled away to reveal the hidden essentials of reality and lead the observer into an experience approaching ‘truth.’ Both art and the I Ching employ a triggering device that makes conscious that which has been buried in our unconscious.” R.L. Wing, The Illustrated I Ching. 

“My pen is my bokken, sword of discrimination, ruthless as it follows certain lines of thought onto the page and ignores others into nonexistence. My pen gives life or death to words. My pen cuts through partial truths, slashes weak verbs, and sparring and paring, uncovers a rare, gemlike image. . . As my mind’s chatter settles ever more deeply, my pen can follow a thought like a bee tracking nectar.” — Connie Zweig, Becoming a Warrior Writer

THE FRONT

Roots of communicate suggest sharing, to make common. Webster’s defines communication as the act of transmitting, giving or exchanging information. The means can include signals, gestures, and writing as well as speaking. The word is also used to describe the means of information changing hands, such telephone, telegraph, radio, or other systems. It’s also used to describe routes for moving troops and materials. In the arts, it connotes expressing ideas and sentiments. In mathematics and science, it includes symbols.

The definition has no shadings of meaning to indicate the multitude of verbal and non-verbal levels of information exchange, acknowledging a broad spectrum spanning cellular synaptic connections and inarticulate body language on one extreme to non-local, telepathic messaging (ESP) at the other. The definition of communication also lacks nuances that indicate motives for communicating, or whether information shared is complete or accurate.

Bad-faith extremists babel. They intentionally miss each other coming and going. Seemingly powerful extroverts (extreme-yang aggressors or oppressors) abuse communication tools as overt weapons of propaganda, intimidation and subordination. Speech is used to overpower and control. Seemingly helpless introverts (extreme-yin targets or victims) use language (along with silence) as covert weapons of self-protection or retaliation. Words are used to placate, distract or mislead.

In The More You Watch the Less You Know, TV veteran Danny Schechter observes that there’s a media war going on to win the hearts and minds of viewers. It’s going on in education too. Insiders disempower people with the potential to threaten empire-building plans by feeding them partial information piece-meal. Potential leaders are co-opted by rewarding them for knowing more and more about less and less, calling the outcome “expertise.” The right hand/brain can’t know what the left is doing.

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 connecting to share 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 BACK

The opposite of communication is silence, the absence of giving and/or receiving information. In a 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.

Am I Still Ahead of My Times? Not Really.

A book reviewer (Lisa says she holds my work in highest regard) reluctantly agreed with a former School Board Association mentor. I am ahead of my times. But that was 1977.

In light of current events, is this snippet from Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change really ahead of the times? Sadly, methinks the times have caught up with me — and then some.

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ALIEN INVADERS

In the 1980s, when the Affirmative Action legislation described in Part One was a subject of hot debate, one commentator made an astute observation. If foreign enemies had wanted to undermine the United States, they would have designed exactly this legislation. Valid goals — the window dressing — were buried in burdensome regulations and punitive economic sanctions. Rather than bringing people together, it was alienating, causing an opposite and equal backlash across the board.

Alien invaders infiltrating Planet Earth, weakening humans to eventually take over and enslave them, is a familiar theme in science fiction. For example, in his various incarnations, Dr. Who — television’s beloved two-hearted time traveler — continuously detects nefarious alien plots and rescues heedless humans from annihilation.

Current events indicate there’s considerable truth cloaked in that science “fiction.” Starting with the premise that hidden alien enemies are covertly scheming to undermine humanity, ask, “How would they set about to destroy us?” Logically, they’d create chaos, setting everyone at each others’ throats. They’d trick humans into mutual self-destruction by stirring up dissension and fragmenting their governments.

As discussed in Part Two, the Old Testament and yogic scriptures both maintain that we’re made in the image of God. Each individual mind is a complete miniature of the Universal Mind. When open, receptive, and aligned, everyone everywhere mirrors the wisdom and potential power of the Creator.

Therefore, it’s an absolute priority for evil aliens to attack the mind. Their agents will do whatever it takes to pollute your mind. They confuse it with false paradigms. They clutter and distract it with the noise of an ongoing media circus. Every doubt planted in your mind causing you to forget who you are, to disbelieve in your ultimate origins and creative potentials, is a victory for the dark side.

To totally undermine humanity, atheism is a must. The unifying beliefs which hold families and nations together and fortify them in times of adversity must be destroyed at all costs. Again, how would this be accomplished?

For one thing, language which makes communication and community-building possible would have to be polluted beyond repair. In Part Two, this ongoing process is described as the Tower of Babel factor. In the English language, for example, every value word has devolved to mean both one thing and its opposite. So people often talk at cross purposes, unaware that they’re missing each other coming and going.

. . . Next, by every means available, alien agents would strive to pollute the idea pool. Make access to the law impossible and simple truth seem complicated. Because ideas have consequences, introduce false beliefs with predictably disastrous results.

Then evil aliens would systematically destroy trust, the cement of human relationships, at every level of organization. How? Make deceit the political norm. Convince people that no one’s motives can be trusted. Demonstrate that no one’s words can be believed. Make it “common knowledge” that no one’s actions, however apparently innocent and well intentioned, can be taken at face value.

Diversions would be a must. Rile the public with non-issues to distract them from very real dangers. Using lame-stream media shills, manipulate the masses with the weapons of psychological warfare. Insult them with the lie that they’re not okay. Sell them on the belief that they’re helpless “victims” of oppressors who must depend on tough guys to rescue them (and pay the heavy price of obligation at the voting polls).

. . . in the first chapter [of Rules for Radicals], Alinsky [chief agent of the evil aliens] stated his exact purpose, namely to coach those who “want to change the world” from what it is “to what they believe it should be.” In I Ching context, this assumption-packed premise is an extraordinary feat of tragedy-fraught hubris. Building on this false premise, Alinsky then fueled the undermining alien arsenal with a full battery of destructive tactics. In essence, political radicals should feel “free” to violate the ten commandments. The ends (getting what you want) justify any means.

His version of social change is engineered by stirring up conflict. Use fabricated information to bear false witness against inconvenient neighbors. (Herman Cain’s character assassination is one of countless examples.) Alinsky advocates scapegoating, not unlike the dynamic which propelled Nazis to power. Create the illusion of an outside enemy as the way to unify your base. (How is that for the ultimate double-speak? Conflict is the opposite of unity.)

Divide and conquer. Pit each group against the others. I can almost see alien puppeteers behind the scenes clapping their hands in glee over Alinsky’s contribution to escalating worldwide conflict. It matters not to them which side wins. Let Sharia law advocates, members of Putin’s Eurasian Union and American exceptionalists squander their precious resources duking it out. If they destroy each other and no one’s left, so much the better.

. . . Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with false information driven by dysfunctional paradigms. If you accept the game and its rules as alien agents define them and proceed to rebel against uncivil authorities, mindlessly hating and resisting, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you give all your attention to what other guys are doing wrong, playing the role of contrarian, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you quit on humanity and live only for yourself, leading a life of self-centered indulgence, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you persist in thinking narrowly in terms of political interests and institutions, not human survival, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win big time.)

The only chance of winning — ultimately, surviving — is to demand a new, clean, unmarked deck, one with all the cards. In other words, make a fresh start . . .

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[to be continued.]

Do I Understand What You Mean?

I promised this blog to Steven Z. In response to a tweet, he wrote, “I have a possible new article suggestion for you and it’s simply – Rethinking Word Usage.” He continued,In general, people use ‘words’ that they unfortunately have no clue of their true meaning or origin. I’ll even go so far as to suggest the paradigm of usage has become corrupted on purpose, as a social control mechanism. By whom?”**

After giving examples, Steven Z concluded, “It’s all these subtleties that add up to being where the world is today = lack of awareness.”

On June 17th, I answered back, “Great Message, Steve. I’ve written extensively about this issue. 1) Virtually every key term in the English language has been perverted to the extent that the same word means both one thing and its opposite. 2) Unraveling this “Tower of Babel” factor is essential to communication.

In fact, I tweeted out today, from The Positive Paradigm Handbook: ‘Axiom Six: Used as a linguistic tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.’”

Here’s an illustration worth a thousand words, It shows the range of different meanings assigned to the single word, “discrimination.”

062414 Discrim

Here’s a basic explanation of Axiom Six:

Like humanity itself, the English language is also becoming an endangered species. Clear and effective communication can no more be taken for granted than any other aspect of the civilization.

In tracking the meanings of words, their devolution is found to be systematic. In some cases, the same word means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well. The inherent danger is that people often talk at cross-purposes, thinking they understand each other when in fact they’re missing each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

It’s worth the time to pay attention to what’s meant by specific words in common use. Working with the Positive Paradigm Wheel explains the dynamics of shifting definitions. The same word takes on different meanings on different levels of the Wheel.

One example is the word “positive.” 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.

As this one example serves to indicate, it’s extraordinarily difficult to communicate so as to be understood as intended. The “Tower of Babel” factor issue is addressed in Rethinking Survival and Conscience:

Tower of Babel Factor

The gift of language sets humans apart from animals. It provides the building blocks of communication. It’s the foundation of civilizations and the necessary glue of cultural continuity.

That being said, humans are the only creatures who rationalize greed, lie to others about their actions and deceive themselves. . . .

That’s quite the opposite of the language I’d learned to love and respect in high school. There, we were taught to regard language as the premier tool of logic. When used with Sherlock-like diligence, applied with the powers of keen observation and heightened awareness, it can solve mysteries — not only detect the crimes of evil-doers and the nefarious plots of national enemies, but reveal the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language is an essential tool of introspection used for cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is the necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on the return journey to share its benefits.

** In Rethinking Survival, I’ve also described the intentional perversion of the English language to which Steven Z alludes. However, it’s outside the limits of this particular piece.