Tag Archives: dark ages

The Path to Reconciliation – 012021

During today’s quiet morning time, the idea for this post clicked into mind. It started with remembering Patrick Byrne’s vision of merging the values of East and West. It moved to looking forward, thinking about how to make it happen.

I revisited my recurring dream of organizing a School Without Walls. Basically, it would serve to link self-responsible students with a qualified mentor. Together, they would design a unique degree program around a personal goal. This would give the next generation what I found missing from my own education.

In You Are Already Enough, I described my personal solution:

As a young adult, my Life Wheel was centered around the goal of becoming a worthy musician. I organized every sector of my life around this single purpose.

Never once did I consider earning a living as a violin teacher. The ones I worked with were way too narrow. They knew about fingering the notes written on sheet music, but the heart and soul of sound wasn’t their department.

I had to design my own course of learning. I chose Oberlin College because it allowed me to balance a top-notch liberal arts program with a world-class music school. I studied violin privately as an “amateur” (a music lover), but majored in world literature and intellectual history.

I wanted to understand the ideas that drove great composers and their patrons. I had to delve into scriptures to feel the devotion that inspired Bach and Mozart.

I needed to know about the physics of sound vibration. I haunted the workshop of a local violin maker to watch how he built and maintained his instruments.

To me, the physical body was a resonant instrument. Tuning it was essential to my calling. Yogic breathing, exercise and personal self-maintenance were integral to my overall vision.

The musicians I performed with in ensembles and orchestras were my friends and family in spirit. We went to concerts together and socialized afterwards at local pubs.

On a related topic, I revisited my intended doctoral dissertation on the Origins and Future of the University. In the repeating cycles of history, I foresaw a looming choice ahead between either a renaissance or another dark ages. In my early morning state, I even dared hope to collaborate with Patrick, an acknowledged renaissance man, to tip the balance in favor of renaissance.

We’re not taught to look to the Book of Change for answers to our deepest questions. That’s why I’m bringing the book to you.

Today’s reading comes in two parts. First I asked, “What role does education have to play in the path of reconciliation?” PROMOTION was the unchanging answer. It reads:

Promotion will come from steady, positive improvement over time. Rising to meet new challenges results in emotional maturity. Advancing on the job puts one in the position to serve those who are in need. Quiet, persistent self-discipline wins the confidence of others. Make the most of opportunities. Avoid hesitation.

My first take was confusion. This didn’t answer my real question. Then I realized I’d asked it in a wrong way. I wasn’t looking for the end result, but rather the process through which the goal is achieved. I got a static answer because I asked a static question about education’s role.

Improvement, emotional maturity, and service all speak to outcomes, not the process. I needed to frame a better question asking for advice on how we get from here to there.

So I asked, “How could education evolve to serve the goal of reconciliation going forward?” This answer was dynamic (again reconfiguring dynamics familiar from 2020 readings). It started with STANDSTILL, which reads:

When opposing forces draw apart, activity comes to a STANDSTILL. Lack of understanding results in mistrust and refusal to cooperate. When weak leaders prevent necessary cooperation, it is best to withdraw from the situation and wait for the times to change. Direct your attention toward inward growth.

This original answer represents the immediate situation in need of remedy. Other names for this hexagram include Negative, Withdrawing, Stagnation or Separation.

* * *

Advice of the second line reads, “Don’t compromise your principles. Protect yourself calmly. Struggle won’t help.” Advice heeded, the line changes changes to Conflict, which further defines Standstill. It reads in part:

CONFLICT develops when one refuses to see the view-point of others. The way out is to be open to others and willing to meet them half-way. Pushing a disagreement to open conflict would result in separation.

* * *

Advice of the fifth line reads, “Paralysis is cured by joining elements meant to work together.” Paralysis – Standstill — is overcome by merging the best of apparently opposite energies. These include the values of social responsibility versus personal freedom; protective (classically male) versus nurturing (classical female) qualities, as well as an outgoing, practical/intellectual approach to life versus an inward/intuitive, contemplative approach to experience.

When advice is heeded, the line changes to Improvement, which reads:

IMPROVEMENT is now possible if you are willing to follow the example of worthy teachers. If you have absorbed negative suggestions in the past which prevent you from expressing your higher self freely, use this time to break away from bad habits. Seek the inspiration of positive influences.

* * *

When the entire process is honored, the combined final outcome is Finish, which reads:

When the FINISH is near, think about the future. Since nothing ends without a new beginning, prepare for what comes next. Order your life so that you are free to move on. Success in the next cycle will depend on the inner wealth you have stored. Avoid fear of change.

Right now, humanity is entering the beginning of a new series of cycles. The new year, 2021, begins a twenty-year astrological cycle of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions in air rather than earth signs. It’s embedded within a 200 year cycle, within a 2,000 year cycle that roughly corresponds with the beginnings of the Christian era. (That’s just an interesting side note, FYI. This isn’t the time/place to elaborate, but you can take my word for it.)

Here, inner wealth includes the sum of life lessons learned, and/or wisdom traditions actualized/assimilated through practice.

And fear of change is primarily a function of programmed ignorance. Means for overcoming fear include not only native courage, but also faith and wisdom. To this end, mastering Natural Law encoded in the Book of Change is the beginning of white magic. Then, with I Ching insight, “everything serves to further.”

P.S. In the the Cycles of History, I mention The Great Reconciliation. Because that information was posted elsewhere, I’m now republishing it to this site. It’s especially relevant now and well-worth your thoughtful attention.

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon at the end of January, 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

Paradigms Are a Matter of Life or Death

Jordan B. Peterson, psychologist, truth-sayer and rock star of recent months, said the most important work that can be done is establishing the relationship between belief systems and the outcomes they generate. I agree.

BECAUSE:

It doesn’t help to tell people to follow their dreams, to be the best they can be, or that nothing is impossible with the right attitude. When they live in societies that enforce limiting, false beliefs, they are (so to speak) paddling upstream in a leaky canoe without oars.

If you thinking you can wish on a star and get what you want, whenever you want it, with no concept of history, you’re in for a rude shock or two. Easy times are over.

If you think it’s possible to eliminate irrational hatreds and eradicate self-serving prejudice with logic and love alone, you’ll have as much success as a man pissing on a forest fire.

Here are (just a few) examples of disastrous results that flow from static, incomplete and incorrect paradigms:

People who live in the poverty of a flattened, empirical science belief system are being told, in effect, by their parents, educators and political leaders that they don’t (and shouldn’t) exist. That only their physical appearance, social status and material possessions matter. Wonder why suicide rates are so high? Or that respect for authority is at an all time low? Or that government corruption is rampant? Or that underworld violence is escalating over the top? (Surely you can add to the list.)

Deny inner emotional levels of the Life Wheel. Suffocate innate impulses to play and seek adventure. Ridicule innermost intimations of immorality and highest aspirations. Starve people of meaning and joy in the name of duty and obligations to serve the collective. That’s the sure recipe for destruction of highest magnitude. It begins one destroyed individual at a time. And ends with the collapse of whole civilizations.

The only way out of this madness is to restore a complete and accurate paradigm. Acknowledge the multi-dimensional quality of life – the inherent pattern of perfection – which is everyone’s inalienable birthright.

Further, the Life Wheel doubles as a time clock. You need to know not only who you are, but where you stand. The precise point in the cycles of history you’re in right now tells you the specific dangers and opportunities open to you NOW.

For example, the biblical stories which Dr. Peterson recommends as Maps of Meaning show repeating cycles of events. Which of these stories apply to us NOW? More specifically, which point in time within those stories is relevant?

Dr. Peterson is looking to Abraham right now, possibly because he was the progenitor of three major religions currently engaged in mutual self-destruction.

But I’m more interested in King David, who, like Christ, was born in Bethlehem, and who as a young shepherd was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be future king. The point in time that’s appropriate to us now, I think, is the confrontation between the boy David and the giant Goliath. Today, this might represent individuals of good will in the face of impending totalitarian global government.

What’s important here is that David exemplifies acting from a complete and accurate paradigm. He acted fearlessly on the belief that “God is with me.” With a single shot to the center of the giant’s forehead (not coincidentally seat of the third eye), he brought the monster down.

David trusted that he was not alone. He “knew” exactly where to aim. His vision was clearly focused on his target (light). He had the vigor (energy) and physical strength (mass) as well as coordination (unity) to overcome the fearsome obstacle that threatened to annihilate him and enslave his people.

There are other biblical figures who at critical points in their cyclical (hero’s journey) experience, are being picked up upon as useful role models. One is Noah anticipating the flood. Another is Joseph at the time he foresaw and was allowed to prepare for times of famine.

There’s Moses at the critical time when the Angel of Death upon the Land of Egypt passed over the homes of the faithful.

And then there’s Job, the model of faith enduring to the end and being restored, even better than before. The phoenix image.

Here’s the secret to be gleaned from this story, illumined by the infinity symbol that links the levels of the Life Wheel. Job says, “The Lord giventh.” This is the outward, materializing movement from center to surface of the Wheel. “And The Lord taketh away.” This is the receding path of return to center. In all, “Blessed be the NAME of the Lord.” The Logos. Think Indy Jones in the Grail movie, the Last Crusade. The receding steps leading to treasure are marked with the Hebrew letters that spell out the Name of God. The creative Name. Remember his “Leap of Faith.”

Also remember that he’s not the only one seeking the Grail . . . power-hungry Nazis are close on his heels, seeking immortality not for love of human/divine fathers, but for the fatherland.

Phoenix - sized

The 11th hour we’re now approaching was foreseen in 1998. I continue to write in this mode, most currently in As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done Now? Here is summary and conclusion:

In the past, monasteries arose as islands of hospitality, learning and civility during Europe and Asia’s so-called dark ages. Once again, as another dark age looms on the horizon, intentional communities dedicated to preserving the essential teachings will naturally arise. My best hope is that future leaders will meet the responsibility of shaping hopeful new beginnings; that they will succeed in transmitting the wisdom of the ancients to future generations along side the complimentary technical know-how of today’s sciences.

In the Positive Paradigm reality map, future educators have a versatile self-awareness tool with which to teach the basics of leading an integrated, self-responsible life. Building on the seven basic axioms which flow from it, tomorrow’s leaders have a viable model upon which to structure healthy social organizations.

Conclusion

Resolving conflict necessarily occurs one person at a time, and from the inside out. For this reason, however complex and overwhelming world problems may seem, we each have the option and responsibility to improve that which is closest to home: ourselves. By reducing internal conflict within, each of us has the potential, if only in modest ways, to reduce the conflict without. . . .

Angel Calling

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:

bell curve sized

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.