Tag Archives: crime

The Wright Connection

 

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On two separate occasions, I’ve recently had reason to revisit a blog about Frank Lloyd Wright originally posted elsewhere.

The first was reading about Judith Orloff being jilted because her boyfriend’s rabbi called her a witch. Contact with her deceased grandfather was judged unacceptable. Especially because — though living in Europe with no way to know that he’d died — I had vivid dream warnings from my Grandpa West at the time of his passing. It’s described in Rethinking Survival:

In another memorable dream, I spoke with my father’s father, Hubble West — the one his grandkids nicknamed “Hubba Hubba,” from whom I inherited my Native American looks. Gravely, he warned that I was trapped in a high-rise tower. I was dead and didn’t know it.

I took this troubling message as a warning that important parts of me were atrophied. I was stuck in my head, neglecting my body and failing to listen to my heart. As a result, I was in mortal danger. Later I learned that at the time of the dream, Hub had just passed. This was his parting benediction.

So, to me, the clergyman’s assumption seems most unjust. To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Orloff’s dream guidance had nothing to with witchcraft. The Wright post serves to vindicate her, putting her experience in larger context.

In brief, as I understand it, our experiences of nature or the so-called “supernatural” are pagan only if we  seek them out, especially to the exclusion of or elevating them above their deepest, original Source. Wright overtly courted the pagan god Taliesin, defiantly rejecting Isaiah’s Hebrew God. Dr Orloff’s stated beliefs, however, are completely compatible with the Positive Paradigm shown below.

The second occasion was an email exchange with friend describing a museum visit. She wrote:

Seeing a tapestry/hanging from Frank Lloyd Wright in the crafts section brought you to mind, although I’ve forgotten just how you ended up with your connection to Taliesin. Through music perhaps? The same association came to me as I listened to a talk at the Seattle public library on the history of Seattle architecture just before leaving for Boston.

I reminded her:

The Taliesin connection was music and yoga related. I was at Hill Top for a yoga retreat. It’s just down the road from Taliesin. The owner, Herb Fritz, was one of Wright’s apprentices. Also a cellist, he heard me play violin and invited me back to play chamber music. The rest, as they say, was history.

She isn’t familiar with the context of that connection, however. This Wright post also fills in those blanks for her. For example, as described below, Herb Fritz was sole apprentice to survive the Taliesin mass murder and testify about what happened.

So for those reasons, I’m posting below an edited version of the earlier LinkedIin post.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Had It Wrong!

Why does it still matter that a century ago, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin burned, torched by an ax-wielding mass murderer?

It matters a great deal. Not because of the tragedy’s lurid details. But because Taliesin East – located in Spring Green, Wisconsin – is an important example of how NOT to organize an intentional community.

Years ago, from stories told in Spring Green at dinner tables and around fireplaces, I learned how powerful an effect Wright’s personality had on apprentices and their families. They remembered him with equal parts awe and dread. He was, so they believed, an architectural genius. He was not, they all agreed, a good neighbor or compassionate, trustworthy friend.

What I learned from those close to him motivated me to read books written by the Wrights, as well as biographies by others – notably The Fellowship. I came to the conclusion that intentional communities like Taliesin – an inherently worthy endeavor — deserve careful rethinking.

I wrote about Taliesin in a LinkedIn email exchange.

Viewing my profile, a connection (“Senior Zen Practitioner and Baseball Umpire”) noticed mention of the time I spent in Spring Green. He emailed me RE. Taliesin West:

My Mom was the Office Mgr. for 21 years…small world

To which I responded:

This particular West has never been to Taliesin, either East or West. But the tales told by scarred survivors (some of whom are very dear to me) sparked keen interest in building BETTER intentional communities. . . . I’m sure your Mom has her share of stories to tell too.

The conversation continued from there. Quoted with his permission, he replied:

“particular West.”…you are cracking me up! My Mom knew everyone, was dear friends with all of them, one-on-one teaching. survivors…you are very wise. my Mom fell down and they fired her because they were afraid she would sue them and she is hard core Catholic and would never sue anyone. . . they broke her heart. . .

Later he wrote:

i just spoke with Mom, she says everything i already told you is true, which i already knew. She said FLW was a slave driver who made the apprentices build the buildings themselves, i did not know that. She said when they cut her loose the yearly tuition was 30K.

Later I responded:

Have been giving much thought to the best ways to use limited time and energy. (Did you see the blog posted over night on rethinkingsurvival.com?)

I mention this because it applies to the article on Wright. It’s important to keep my focus on how to do things RIGHT. Exposing the dark side of Taliesin isn’t my purpose. For the tabloid dirt on FLW, you can easily read The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship by Friedland & Zellman. In fact, you can just look up the book description on Amazon along with the comments to find out all you ever wanted to know . . . and more.

Though I will add that (unless I missed it), the authors omitted a significant detail. The third Mrs. Wright was not only a student of [the so-called mystic] Gurdjieff, but bore one of his illegitimate children (Svetlana the first). Gurdjieff wanted live at Taliesin, but Wright would have none of it . . .

So, moving on. My basic purpose is to address a viable approach to doing intentional communities RIGHT. As an intermediate step in this direction – proof of the larger point — it is instructive to consider what Wright did WRONG.

Here’s my underlying premise: Paradigms are of life-or-death importance. Incomplete, inaccurate beliefs result in tragedy. Achieving more positive, sustainable results requires the foundation of a complete and accurate worldview.

Like Wright, many today strive with all their hearts to accomplish great work. Sadly, even geniuses like Wright, despite the best of intentions, undo themselves, precipitating loss and disaster. In the process, they hurt others as well as themselves. Yet they rail against misfortune as if they were randomly selected, unjustly persecuted victims of fate.

From my point of view, positive solutions start with recognizing a major source of life problems: a knowledge deficit. For example, outcomes would significantly improve by expanding one’s reality map to include three kinds of law. Each regulates its own level of the Life Wheel.

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The levels are interrelated and interdependent. When they are aligned, integrated and balanced, when they operate harmoniously, all goes well. When any of the levels is left out of the equation, nothing works right. When they are out of balance, so is life. When they aren’t correctly prioritized, all hell breaks loose.

The Positive Paradigm represented by the Life Wheel is a universal standard. In this context, Wright acted without respect for the whole of life. As a consequence, he experienced repeated setbacks — as do many of today’s leaders.

Here is Wright’s attitude towards each level of law:

  • Divine Law. He rebelled against it. In his equation, the innermost level of law was ruled out. To the extent God exists, the relationship between God and man is one of mutual enmity.
  • Natural Law. Instead of God, he worshiped a romanticized version of nature.
  • Human Law. In his financial and social behavior, he demonstrated an arrogant disregard for fellow human beings, acting as if he were out exclusively for himself.

Ironically, Wright seemed to think his genius (a gift of God) placed him above the laws which ordinary mortals respect and follow. He didn’t pay bills, didn’t honor family commitments, and later in life, presumed to act as if he were a god, dominating the lives of apprentice architects.

And, as the Greeks knew, the flaw of pride – hubris – precipitates tragedy.

From his books, we know that Wright hated and probably feared the wrathful prophet Isaiah. In reaction to the failings of his preacher father, he swung to an opposite extreme – replacing worship of God with deification of nature.

He may well have had valid grievances against his biological father. He may have been correct about the limitations of conventional morality.

But (if you’ll forgive the pun), “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Taliesin (meaning shining brow) is the name of the pagan Celtic god Wright invoked as patron of his unconventional lifestyle. When Taliesin East was built, Wright had just walked away from his first wife and their six children. It was designed as a love nest to share with the married mistress from Chicago whom he felt was his soul mate.

The dynamics of ancient Natural Law (a subject altogether different from Wright’s beliefs) explain the inevitable misfortunes that plagued him throughout life. The Law of Karma (“As ye sow, so shall ye reap”), is quite straight forward. Whatever you do returns in kind.

As a simple, infallible law of nature, if you hurt and harm others, your actions come back to you, in some form or other, at some time or other. (“What goes around comes around,” as they say. Or, “Payback is a bitch.”)

In this case, Wright had remarkable (dare I say, God-given) gifts as an architect. But on a personal level, he was despised by many people, for many reasons. Not all were forgiving. Newton’s law, “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction,” caused his short-sighted desires to backfire in horrific ways.

For example, to all appearances, the mass murder at Taliesin was an orchestrated hit. The assassin, 30-year-old Julian Carlton, an estate worker originally from Barbados, was recommended to Wright by Chicago associates who just might have held grudges. Carlton himself had no motive for butchering Mamah Borthwick or her two children. He didn’t have the education to plan his carefully calculated attack on the apprentices, standing outside the only door of their burning room, ax in hand, waiting to cut them down one-by-one as they tried to escape certain death by fire.

Killing the apprentices was probably a secondary priority. Had all of them died, there would have been no witnesses to the crime. One, however, though gravely injured, survived long enough to run from the isolated rural setting and sound an alarm. A second (Herb Fritz, my Spring Green host) lived to identify the killer.

How would a simple hired man have known to purchase and pack a vial of cyanide to swallow in case he was caught? It scarred his throat so badly he couldn’t have answered questions in jail even if he wanted to. Nor could he eat. He died within a few days of capture, starved, in agony. So today, no one knows for sure who commissioned his crime.

But then again, back in the day, no one really wanted the world to know the facts. Carlton’s death was a convenience not only for the unknown master-mind, but also for Wright and his followers. Being highly invested in their image, whether for personal or financial reasons, they preferred to deny any connection between Wright’s personal life and its logical consequences. Rather than recognizing the opportunity to learn from hard lessons, Wright wallowed dramatically in his grief. Rather than take personal responsibility, he blamed a vengeful God for this (as well as the following string of repeated tragedies – including a later fire at Taliesin which destroyed newly acquired treasures of Japanese art and then the drowning death of Svetlana I).

The lessons set by his example, however, remain useful for us now. Bottom line: communities based on upside-down worldviews are tragedy magnets. They never have and never will work out well.

What remains to be seen is whether, on the basis of a complete and correct paradigm, with sufficient motivation to do things RIGHT, we can do better now.

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Put Terrorism in Larger Context

Recently, much commentary has been focused on the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. Most are asking the wrong questions. Many look to place blame. There are exceptions however. Looking for lessons to be learned which might lead to hopeful solutions is the rare but positive approach.

Why do either/or-thinking journalists fixate on assigning or denying blame? Like spoiled children, they squabble and point fingers. “He started it.” “No, it’s their fault!” It’s time to grow up! Expand our way of thinking to recognize the all-inclusive pattern in which everyone is partially culpable and equally responsible for positive change.

The prevailing materialistic paradigm of empirical science limits the questions which can be asked, which in turn limits the places where viable solutions are to be be found. If the middle and innermost levels of the Life Wheel are ruled out, analysts are functionally blinded to the dynamics on all sides which perpetuate back-and-forth bickering, throwing self-righteous excuses for hatred and violence. When underlying motives which drive these dynamics are ignored, the parties on all sides of escalating world conflict place human survival at risk.

Terrorism is a surface symptom of much deeper problems. Attacking symptoms of disease without correctly diagnosing root causes can quell specific symptoms. But the cause, unseen and untouched, simply mutates into even more dreadful symptoms. Destroying terrorist cells is like surgically removing cancer from an affected organ, only to cause its spread throughout the body.

Intent is the WHAT, the outcome or end result that resides on the outermost level of the Life Wheel. In this case, the Paris murders and kidnappings are only the visible end result of a much larger and more complex process.

Deeper than intent is purpose, the HOW. Purpose resides at the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel. For example, one purpose of terrorism is to use violence as an instrument of economic or political upheaval in the name of “social justice.”

Still deeper than purpose is motive, the WHY that leads to violent methods resulting in death and destruction. In some very twisted way, the motive may include setting perceived wrongs right, asserting self-respect and restoring violated human dignity.

Then the questions become, What is justice? Wherein lies valid self-respect? What is the basis of true human dignity? Can these valid motives possibly be served through acts of violence that destroy lives on all sides? Sounds like a fundamental contradiction to me.

If the deepest, underlying motive is to set wrongs right, that opens many doors for alternative approaches to satisfying these motives, ones appropriate to the basic human needs crying out for expression, ones with some valid ways for actually fulling them, instead of the self-defeating methods and results we see now.

World leaders, and each of us as the leaders responsible for doing our best within our limited spheres of personal responsibility, would do well to rethink recent Paris events by putting them in larger perspective. Use the MPI (Motive-Purpose-Intent) standard to look deeper into the heart of terrorism as the first step in making positive responses leading in new directions.

Here as food for thought is an earlier essay on motives. It seems timely and may prove useful.

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ESSAY 18. MOTIVES

Although the feelings mentioned above [sadness, pessimism, guilt, emptiness] may accompany a depressed mood, the most prevalent effects usually involve low energy and lack of motivation . . . An effective way of lifting these moods involves using music to activate our resources.”  — John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology

It occurred to me that the only way to figure out what had happened at a crime scene was to understand what had gone on inside the head of the principal actor in that drama: the offender. And the only way to find that out was to ask him. . . If we could give the law enforcement community some insights into the process, the internal logic, of how violent offenders actually decide to commit crimes and why they come up with their choice of crimes — where the motive comes from — then we could provide a valuable tool in pointing investigators toward what for them must be the ultimate question: Who? Stated as simply as possible: Why? + How? = Who.” — John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive

On some level, you are meditating all the time. One goal of meditation practice is to become aware of that. Another is to extend that awareness to more and more areas of your life. . . It takes practice and conscious effort to restructure the mind and move it from habitual patterns.” — Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health

THE FRONT

The root of “motive” is “to move.” Webster’s single definition refers to “some” inner drive, impulse, or intention that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way. It’s an incentive or goal.

Motive, purpose and intent explain human behavior. Unless viewed as a whole, what we see is taken out of context and misunderstood. You see a man take someone else’s car. That’s intent, the WHAT. You see him grab the keys and drive off. That’s purpose, the HOW. But unless you know his motive, WHY he did it, the picture is incomplete. Was he desperately racing to save his beloved child’s life, escaping from vengeful gang lords, or simply lusting after a fancy new car?

We are fascinated by crime. Mystery novels, detective movies and sensational murder stories on TV news are big business. We stretch our minds to second-guess the ending, figure out who committed the crime, and why. We look for the mistakes that reveal dark secrets and lead to the criminal’s undoing. We’re satisfied only when truth is revealed and order is restored by justice.

At heart, what we’re really trying to understand is ourselves. We’re haunted by a pervasive sense of wrongs committed against us, or by us. We can’t quite bring ourselves to recognize what they are, or to admit our own mistakes. But a nagging sense of unfinished business leaks out as voyeurism.

Ultimately, it is the stifled voice of conscience that persistently calls us back to our neglected dreams and deepest longings for fulfillment. Those who allow themselves to be defined by others, who live in habitual fear of people’s opinions and fail to honor their inner sense of calling commit a soul-searing violence akin to suicide. The crime they commit is against their own true selves. Failing to be true to oneself can be the hardest crime to detect. Finding one’s true calling can be the greatest mystery of all.

People who march to others’ drums, unconscious of their motives and what moves those around them, live in painful confusion. Only those who know how to listen and dance to the inner music of their soul’s desire live in joyful harmony with themselves and the world around them.

The I Ching is a means for turning the camera around, focusing in on ourselves. Uncovering hidden motives might cause initial discomfort. But it can lead to positive changes. After analyzing them, we have the option to decide on better ways to accomplish intentional ends. Our What and How isn’t always appropriate to our Why. Other solutions may accomplish our goals without committing crimes against ourselves and others.

THE BACK

The opposite of motive is motiveless, to be without awareness of calling, any conscious purpose, or impulse to action. This condition is sometimes an extreme reaction to an extended period of frenzied, excessive, forced action. People experience it as apathy, shell shock or burn out.

When crazed criminals go on sprees, kill strangers and wreak havoc on public property, their acts are regarded as random and senseless. To all but the most highly attained, the subtle laws of cause and effect are incomprehensible. There’s wisdom in accepting the unfathomable as Job did, saying, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.“

The Law of Karma Is a Key to Success

AXIOM FOUR of the Positive Paradigm is the practical foundation of functional ethics. It states, “Consequences of Actions Are Inevitable; Those Who Respect the Law of Karma Succeed.” Were it taught earlier in schools both public and private as the survival basic which it is, today’s world would be very different indeed.

For in an exclusively materialist, linear worldview, it seems possible to “get away with murder.” Unethical leaders mistakenly continue to act on the false premise that they can avoid the consequences of their actions by hiding selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances.

But ultimately, they deceive no one but themselves. (Remember the fate of ponzi racketeer Bernie Madoff and his two tragically unfortunate sons?)

Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray dramatizes the horrific consequences of hiding hideous deeds behind an unnatural mask of eternal youth and physical beauty. Just as Dorian comes to an awful end, in the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm worldview, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The concept of a “perfect crime” is an oxymoron.

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The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” and “For everything there is a season. . . ”

In modern parlance, the saying that underscores the circular dynamic of poetic justice is, “What goes around comes around.”

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This rule holds true as axiomatic. It has been observed for a very long time that in fact — even if not immediately, or directly — what is done does, for better or worse, returns in kind.

This code is neither self-righteous nor moralistic. It’s simply a practical fact, an observable law of nature. Because we are all interconnected, good deeds return exponentially, while harm intended becomes harm received.

There’s nothing personal about the Law of Karma. It’s simply how the world works. The dynamics of natural law are similar to computer logic. “If this, then that.” If one respects life and treats others with kindness, then others are likely to respond with gratitude. If one disrespects others, then all but wisest will feel threatened and react with fear, hatred and vengeful retaliation.

This is good news for those content to do the right things for the right reasons. It’s exceedingly bad news for those who choose to intentionally hurt and harm others, whether for immediate financial gain or petty ego-satisfaction.

It’s also incentive to become as knowledgeable as possible about the natural law encoded in the Book of Change. For the more deeply one understands the operations of this law, and the more skillfully they’re applied, the more likely it is that success will follow wherever attention is focused.

The law holds true for relationships on every level and in every avenue of daily life. Family members who honor the law bring blessings upon their loved ones as well as themselves. Those who are ethical in the conduct of their business and political lives succeed accordingly.

This dynamic is central to martial arts and the conduct of war. At the middle level, there are no reservations attached to energy manipulation. In a vacuum, out of context, motives are irrelevant. The playing field is open to all who know the territory.

To the extent that we’re not conscious of the energies that drive us at this middle level, we’re easy prey to behind-the-scenes puppet masters. American journalists see U.S. politicians’ abysmal ineptness at this level (in contrast to their Russian and Chinese counterparts) as putting Americans in grave danger.

Those who go with the grain, being truthful and trustworthy in their words and deeds even (and especially) when the going gets rough, find life ultimately abundant. Those who choose to go against the grain, preferring to get whatever they want however they can get it with as little effort as possible, find the opposite.

The popular riddle asks, “Why do con artists do shabby work, charge unreasonably high prices, and get away with murder.” The cynical answer: “Because they can.” However, this cynical half-truth tells only part of the story.

They can, because there’s free will. They can, because they’re ignorant, or else incredibly stupid. Choices have (all too often unforeseen) consequences. Whether one believes in God or not, whether one respects the natural law or chooses to be blind to it, these consequences are the same. In modern parlance, “Do the Crime. Do the time.” Or, as it’s also said, “Pay back is a bitch.”

Punishment for unrepentant wrong-doing can take many forms. The consequences of breaking human laws include fines. jail-time, and in the extreme, death. Over time, retribution for violating the natural law is visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune

Consequences of misdeeds often return on the psychological level. Carl Jung, the Swiss analyst who popularized the concept of archetypes, also wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching. He noted the unintended kickback from rejecting the basic axioms of religion and natural law with mere reason. There are consequences not only for decision-makers, but also those they influence.

In sum, Jung noted that modern thinkers have made a fatal mistake. The facts of inner life can’t be driven out of existence by arbitrarily banishing them from the decision-making equation. Saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. It just leaves the unbeliever at the disadvantage of being cut off from the center.

According to Jung, denying the facts of inner life has the effect of burying rejected aspects of the whole in the “unconscious,” where they continue to reap havoc on our daily lives. Politicians and journalists under the influence of unacknowledged emotional demons “unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.”

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Corollary A: Free will allows that no one’s fate is irreversibly cast in stone. Destiny is the result of many choices made over a very long time. But even at the eleventh hour, consistently better choices can ameliorate and redirect the outcomes of history, on a personal and on up to national levels. The Law of Nature allows that everyone can change. This is the eternal and best hope of even the seemingly worst among us.

Corollary B: The intricate workings of karma are unfathomable to the human mind. Asking why events happen is productive only insofar as it’s instructive as to how personal beliefs, attitudes and behavior can be improved to generate better results. Then, the most practical question to ask is, “What is the best way to respond to immediate events now?”

Corollary C: It’s best to forswear ignorant meddling. Life is infinitely complex. Humans can’t possibly fathom the far reaching effects of their actions. The best results come from listening to and acting on conscience without imposing selfish ego.

Corollary D: The atheist uses personal suffering as proof that either God does not exist, or that God is so cruel and unjust that this being deserves no trust, respect or allegiance. The answer is, that human suffering is a consequence of consistently poor choices made over a very long time. The opportunity inherent in suffering is to take responsibility for making better choices, beginning with an acceptance of and realignment with the basic axioms of life.

Corollary E: The Law of Karma operates without exceptions. Ignorance is no excuse. Violate it only at your own peril. Nature and Nature’s God cannot be fooled or circumvented. There’s no way to cheat. Nature can’t bet bribed. Conscience can’t be bought off.

Corollary F: A best-selling shaman book advises that it’s okay to go full bore after whatever you want. If others get in the way, it’s their problem. If they hurt you, it’s your fault for letting them. His answer to God, like Cain’s, is, in effect, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Implying, “No way.” But in Positive Paradigm context, the correct answer is, “We’re more than our brothers’ keepers.” We not only share the same seed origin in common. We’re inextricably connected. The pain and suffering we inflict on others returns, magnified, as our own – as do the kindnesses we compassionately provide along the way.

Corollary G: Justice belongs to the Creator, the all-seeing eye and all-knowing heart that resides at the center of the Wheel. Since everyone’s misdeeds are accounted for, there’s no need for revenge. Why try to even the score? It’s already been taken care of. Besides of which, who are we as short-sighted mortals to presume to judge? It’s far more beneficial to focus on personal karma and dharma.

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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.

Rethinking MOTIVES

One Essay on Change is posted each consecutive Sunday. The choice of which is decided either by requests made on the Contact Page and/or immediate relevance to current events.

Tonight, 03/23/14, I’m following through on a promise made in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I told Barrister Brendon Moorhouse, a reported Sherlock of the Courtroom, that I’d respond to this important question on this website with my perspective. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the 64 UPSG Essays. However, I’ve waited until the following week because the companion Essay on Motives speaks more closely to the subject of investigating crimes, white collar as well violent ones.

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18. MOTIVES

“Although the feelings mentioned above [sadness, pessimism, guilt, emptiness] may accompany a depressed mood, the most prevalent effects usually involve low energy and lack of motivation. . . An effective way of lifting these moods involves using music to activate our resources.” — John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology

“It occurred to me that the only way to figure out what had happened at a crime scene was to understand what had gone on inside the head of the principal actor in that drama: the offender. And the only way to find that out was to ask him. . . If we could give the law enforcement community some insights into the process, the internal logic, of how violent offenders actually decide to commit crimes and why they come up with their choice of crimes — where the motive comes from — then we could provide a valuable tool in pointing investigators toward what for them must be the ultimate question: Who? Stated as simply as possible: Why? + How? = Who.” John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive

“On some level, you are meditating all the time. One goal of meditation practice is to become aware of that. Another is to extend that awareness to more and more areas of your life. . . It takes practice and conscious effort to restructure the mind and move it from habitual patterns.” – Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health

 THE FRONT

The root of motive means to move. Webster’s single definition refers to “some” inner drive, impulse, or intention that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way. It’s an incentive or goal.

Motive, purpose and intent explain human behavior. Unless viewed as a whole, what we see is taken out of context and misunderstood. You see a man take someone else’s car. That’s intent, the what. You see him grab the keys and drive off. That’s purpose, the how. But unless you know his motive, why he did it, the picture is incomplete. Was he desperately racing to save his beloved child’s life, escaping from vengeful gang lords, or simply lusting after a fancy new car?

We’re fascinated by crime. Mystery novels, detective movies and sensational murder stories on TV news are big business. We stretch our minds to second-guess the ending, figure out who committed the crime, and why. We look for the mistakes that reveal dark secrets and lead to the criminal’s undoing. We’re satisfied only when truth is revealed and order is restored by justice.

At heart, what we’re really trying to understand is ourselves. We’re haunted by a pervasive sense of wrongs committed against us, or by us. We can’t quite bring ourselves to recognize what they are, or to admit our own mistakes. But a nagging sense of unfinished business leaks out as voyeurism.

Ultimately, it’s the stifled voice of conscience that persistently calls us back to our neglected dreams and deepest longings for fulfillment. Those who allow themselves to be defined by others, who live in habitual fear of people’s opinions and fail to honor their inner sense of calling commit a soul-searing violence akin to suicide. The crime they commit is against their own true selves.

Failing to be true to oneself can be the hardest crime to detect. Finding one’s true calling can be the greatest mystery of all. People who march to others’ drums, unconscious of their motives and what moves those around them, live in painful confusion. Only those who know how to listen and dance to the inner music of their soul’s desire live in joyful harmony with themselves and the world around them.

 The I Ching is a means for turning the camera around, focusing in on ourselves. Uncovering hidden motives might cause initial discomfort. But it can lead to positive changes. After analyzing them, we have the option to decide on better ways to accomplish intentional ends.

Our what and how isn’t always appropriate to our why. Other solutions may accomplish our goals without committing crimes against ourselves and others.

 THE BACK

The opposite of motive is motiveless, to be without awareness of calling, any conscious purpose, or impulse to action. This condition is sometimes an extreme reaction to an extended period of frenzied, excessive, forced action. People experience it as apathy, shell shock or burn out.

 When crazed criminals go on sprees, kill strangers and wreak havoc on public property, their acts are regarded as random and senseless. To all but the most highly attained, the subtle laws of cause and effect are incomprehensible. There’s wisdom in accepting the unfathomable as Job did, saying, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.“

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John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology. (Samuel Weiser: ME, 1997.) p. 7.

John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive. (Scribner: New York, 1999.) pp. 25-26.

Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health. (audio cassette, Upaya,1997.)

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Illustration from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide

 

Aware2

Rethinking CRIME

Today, I’m fulfilling a promise made on a LinkedIn thread in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I responded to look here for my perspective on this very important question. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the UPSG Essays.

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1. CRIME

 “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.” — C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.

“Nature itself has a pulse, a rhythmic, wavelike movement between activity and rest . . . We are capable of overriding these natural cycles, but only by summoning the fight-or-flight response and flooding our bodies with stress hormones. We can only push so long without breaking down and burning out.” — Loehr & Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

“Your life is created from the inside out, so you must get right with you on the inside — and that takes time and focus on you; not your social mask, but you. . . You are uniquely equipped for a mission in this world, and to fail to commit to finding that mission and then achieving it is to wither the mind, body and spirit.” — Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out

THE FRONT

Linguistic roots of crime indicate a verdict, an object of reproach, or offense. According to Webster’s, crime is an act which the law prohibits. Conversely, it is failure to act as the law orders. Crimes are variously punishable by death, imprisonment, or the imposition of fines and restrictions.

A second kind of crime is an offense against morality, called sin. More loosely, this word is used to refer to something regrettable. “It’s a crime you didn’t finish school.”

What’s significantly missing from Webster’s definitions is reference to violations of natural law. Over millennia, Asian practitioners evolved sophisticated sciences which map the subtle laws of energy movement and study the effects of natural change on human physiology, behavior and institutions. For thousands of years, health sciences, social structures, business practices and the education of monastic, government and military leaders alike were based on this practical understanding of human dynamics.

Westerners, in contrast, have little functional understanding of natural law and violate it with impunity. We experience subtle energy shifts as emotional reactions or the erratic ups and downs of daily life. Because Western cultures are historically out-of-tune with energy dynamics at this level of law, it is often referred to as the unconscious. Crimes of passion and self-sabotage are proof of this bind spot.

The focus of Conscience: The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change. It embodies a time-tested method for making the unconscious conscious. As the repository of natural law, it fills a gap in the way we’ve been taught to think about life.

Restoring its ancient wisdom to current awareness could correct mistakes in the ways we think and therefore act, revitalizing virtually every field of endeavor, from the healing and entertainment arts to the political and social sciences.

In I Ching context, the worst crimes are those we commit against ourselves when we accept and act on limiting suggestions. When we block out the lower octave of sub-rational intelligence (the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel) as if it didn’t exist, we fail to recognize and release the buried fears that sabotage our rational decisions.

When we disown the higher octave of our super-rational awareness, (the center of the Wheel) we block out intuitive access to the Book of Life, written in our very DNA — the universal source of creative solutions, the means of healing every disease, and hope of ultimate survival.

Those who dismiss, demean or control children with fear condemn them to empty lives of masked conformity on the material surface of the Life Wheel. Instilling extreme ideas about death, as if it were either a reward or ultimate punishment, one’s only hope or worst enemy, results in living inappropriate to reality.

 The more moderate, I Ching view accepts mortality as a natural change. Sages use keen awareness that time on Earth is limited as motivation to live authentic to their true selves, making the best possible use of every precious moment here and now.

To keep people in ignorance, lulling them into inaction by minimizing future dangers or the opportunities inherent in them is irresponsible. To withhold the information we need to be effective in meeting and surviving immanent challenges is most certainly the ultimate crime against humanity.

For a timely wake-up call would serve to shake us out of self-denial and shatter the prisons of narrow thinking. It could rouse the courage to face up to the unknown, to slay the demons that lurk in the sub-rational mind. It might also open us up to our super-rational potentials and the distant calling of eternal life.

 THE BACK

The positive resolution of crime is atonement. In social relationships, it’s accomplished by setting wrongs right. At a personal level, it’s accomplished by returning to a lifestyle compatible with natural law. At the deepest level, at-one-ment is attained by overcoming separation and restoring one’s original at-one connection with conscience and the creative source.

The negative consequence of unrepentant wrong doing is punishment. Breaking human laws, as Webster’s enumerates, precipitates punitive results. Over time, the natural law of karma returns actions in kind to the doer. Retribution can be visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune. The biblical admonition holds true: As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

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Carl G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.Alchemical Studies. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1967.) p. 36.

Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. (Free Press: New York, 2003.) pp. 30, 31.

Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out. (Free Press: New York, 2001.) pp. 12, 13.