Tag Archives: DNA

Psychology’s Blind Spot

In his free-association-style Bible Series lecture on Jacob’s Ladder, JBP pulled just about everything out of his hat except the one relevant personal experience he could have brought to bear on Jacob’s dream. Let me tell you what I mean.

What Dr. Peterson did bring to bear on the Old Testament story – the one that inspired the rock song “Highway to Heaven”included the psychological sufferings of Freud, Jung and even Darwin. He drew on his favorite Russian writers — Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn, the Kwakwaka’wakw people (he’s an initiate) and a potlatch he attended, as well as research on administering hallucinogenic mushrooms to dying patients to induce mystical experience. The implication: Jacob’s vision might have been a chemically induced shamanic journey.

Wow. For me, that’s more than quite a stretch.

Here’s the experience I hoped he would focused on. It grabbed my attention as a valid confirmation of Eastern meditation traditions. Sadly, just as Einstein missed the unified theory implicit in his famous formula, Dr. Peterson missed the significance of the glimpse he’d been given. He persistently by-passes it, which puzzles and frustrates me. Hard to say whether the problem is cultural bias, wariness of “new age” distortions, deliberate denseness, or “professional” qualms.

Jupiter

I’m drawing from memory of a video interview, so the details may not be perfect. In any case, the substance is correct. The interviewer asked Dr. Peterson about the mystic experience he had while listening to classical music. I’m pretty sure it was Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

In the Greek pantheon, Jupiter was king of the gods. He ruled over the affairs of gods and men from his throne on Olympus, akin to the way God is said to reign in heaven.

Dr. Peterson said in his mind, it was as if the gates of heaven opened up before him.

heaven opening.jpg

The imagery of a stairway leading to heaven is universal and no coincidence. It bears an unmistakable resemblance to the ladder of Joseph’s dream.

Blake’s artistic depiction of the ladder below was included in the lecture. JBP pointed out that the spiral effect is suggestive of the DNA helix. The transformative implications are implicit.

blake JL

The best way he could describe his personal experience of the heavens opening, he said, was that it seemed like a lotus flower unfolding. I instantly thought of the crown chakra lotus.

crown lotus

JBP’s finest moment (from my point of view) came in his answer to the last question of the lecture’s Q & A session. He came very close to touching on the tradition which explains his mystical experience as well as Jacob’s dream. Almost.

People who are interested in grand narratives have pointed out that there’s a set of common mythological themes across many cultures. They can be the same on one level, different on another. But humanity coalesces on what’s the same over a reasonable period of time.

. . . there’s this constant force [literally, energy structure] that makes our ethical presuppositions converge. And then that’s automatically expressed in those stories.

In one way, he is correct. But in another, significant way, not. Stories take on the images of each specific culture. In that way they are different. What they share in common, however, is not myth or archetype but SCIENCE, meaning “with knowledge.” Jacob’s ladder is certainly a striking example.

Lacking this universal, underlying science, humanity cannot be properly, completely understood. Psychologies remain incomplete and inaccurate. They have grievous blind spots.

Put another way, Huston Smith, premier comparative religion teacher and devout practitioner of what he calls “timeless wisdom,” wrote:

Twenty years ago I wrote a book, The Religions of Man, which presented the world’s enduring traditions in their individuality and variety. It has taken me until now to see how they converge. . . .

What then emerges is a remarkable unity underlying the surface variety. When we look at human bodies, what we normally notice is their surface features, which of course differ markedly. Meanwhile on the insides, the spines that support these motley physiognomies are structurally very much alike. It is the same with human outlooks. Outwardly they differ, but inwardly it is as if an “invisible geometry” has everywhere been working to shape them to a single truth.

This “invisible geometry” is literally the snake-like intersections of energy path ways criss-crossing and intersecting at the spine. They link the seven centers in a pattern strikingly similar to the DNA double helix represented in the Caduceus, the healing staff of the messenger god Mercury, familiar now as the symbol of modern medicine.

In Yes, AND . . . I underscored that chakras are NOT merely myths or stories.

Ancient Himalayan sages mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras (“wheels).” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment.

. . . Though recorded in ancient scripture, sages experienced vibrant spinning wheels of energy in deep meditative states as a fact of inner reality. Their reports are not the same as poetic symbolism, mythology or parable. Chakras exist as literal fact, integral to inner life as an experience which can and has been replicated by countless practitioners over time.

Chakras as energetic concept are key to the process of psychological transformation. I address the middle, e = mc2 level of the universal Life Wheel in The Gatekeeper and the consequences of psychology’s blind spot in Paradigms are a Matter of Life or Death. In The Highway to Heaven Is a Two-Way Street, I put Jacob’s Ladder in this larger context.

Bottom line: mystical experiences and genuine psychological transformation are not accomplished by mental speculation or even acts of sheer will power. They occur in the deeper layers of the Life Wheel which have, disastrously, been made taboo in Western civilizations. Einstein called the blind spot “the fateful fear of metaphysics.” The fateful-fear of self-awareness comes in its train, sometimes justified, most often times NOT.

Descriptions of heaven’s gates opening and unfolding lotus flowers come straight out of the ancient Vedas. The seventh chakra located above the head is described as a Thousand Petaled Lotus. To mystic vision, it looks something like this:

crown chakra x 4

Chakras, again, are “spinning wheels of light.” Seven basic ones are aligned along the human spine. In ascending order, each is associated with an increasingly more sophisticated developmental stage, state of consciousness and related psychological issues. Here is a brief description of the crown chakra:

The 7th or crown chakra is located at the top of the head and is related to the induction of spiritual energy into the body. Said to control every aspect of the body and mind, it is associated with full enlightenment and union with God. This chakra is normally not fully opened in most humans, although pictures of saints and other spiritual beings with”halos” are depictions of activated crown chakras.

Here’s a picture of all seven, putting the heavenly ruling seventh center in context:

chakras

In the creative process, the non-physical precedes and drives the physical. Western psychologists therefore would benefit greatly from understanding the correlations of each subtle energetic center with resultant mental and biological conditions. Put the other way, lacking this foundation, their understanding of human nature is seriously skewed.

The other six are briefly described:

  • The 1st or root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is involved with the physical process of elimination and the organs that work with that function. It is the chakra associated with the emotional energy of survival, as well as with grounding to the physical plane.
  • The 2nd or sacral chakra is located about three inches below the navel. This chakra corresponds to sexual energy and the reproductive organs. It is also associated with creativity and intrinsic life force.
  • The 3rd or solar-plexus chakra is located at the navel and several inches above. Its energy is associated to digestion and the digestive organs, personal power, and self mastery.
  • The 4th or heart chakra it located in the center of the chest. On the physical level, it works with the lungs and heart. On the emotional level, it works with the energy of compassion and love.
  • The 5th or throat chakra is located in the throat area, at the base of the neck. It is the chakra that is involved with the process of communication, speech, and hearing. The ears are associated with this chakra, as well as the vocal apparatus.
  • The 6th or brow chakra is located in the center of the forehead, between and slightly above the eyes. Often called “the third eye,” it is associated with imagination and psychic abilities, along with mental activity and brain function.

We are not completely out of tune with the effects of chakras, although due to taboos on conscious awareness, we experience them for the most part subliminally, sometimes at the hands of skillful, unscrupulous exploiters.

For one thing, differences amongst therapeutic approaches is proof of differences in chakra orientation. A lateral view of chakras aligned along the spinal column reflects the qualitative differences in focus (Dr. Peterson calls them temperaments) amongst well-known  psychologists.

invisible geometry sized

In addition, as described earlier:

. . the Western way of ignoring and denying the reality and influence of chakras makes life’s journey far more difficult than need be. But it can’t and doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. Despite scientific prohibitions, most of us still have glimpses of transcendent experience, most often through the arts.

For example, music moves us because its sound sets the chakras in sympathetic vibration. Inspired music has a healing, uplifting affect on the nervous system, the emotions, and the soul. It is not coincidence that the seven notes of the Western chromatic scale correspond with the vibratory rates of the seven major chakras. Indian ragas intentionally draw on chakra correlations to soothe emotions or lift the spirit. In the West, similar effects of inspired music have been described as The Mozart Effect.

In addition, the (albeit too-often unconscious) effect of the chakras on human experience is particularly strong in the visual arts, including the full spectrum from fashion and home-making to interior design, architecture and fine arts. This in due in large part to the fact that the chakras are associated with geometric shapes, as well as with specific colors of rainbow spectrum.

closing

JBP’s Jacob’s Ladder Part I lecture compels two spin-off blogs. One will expand on the effects music has on health on each of the seven levels. Being composed of vibrations, it resonates with and activates the chakras, for better or worse. The other will address literary criticism, which Western civilization has backwards.

 

 

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Pray for Lee

DNA 1

I get it. It’s early August. Most of us are on summer vacation now. It’s not the time to be bothered by “serious stuff.”

But sometimes, serious stuff won’t wait.

Here, we’re been dealing with escalating medical emergencies. They have dire implications for Lee, for those who care for him, and yes – for the rest of us, too.

Please bear with me. I’ll connect the dots for you.

It started a few months ago with sleepless nights that left him too weary to work during the day. Pain of unknown origin gave Lee no rest.

He lost his appetite. Lost weight.

It seemed like a flare up of rheumatoid arthritis. So the doctors thought. But then came chest pains. Strong enough for an urgent call to 911. Even after an ambulance trip to the hospital in Baraboo and several hours in the emergency room, he continued to experience episodes of severe chest pain no one could explain.

Local doctors consulted together, then contacted Lee’s Madison specialist. It was agreed to transport him via ambulance to the UW-Madison Hospital for a cardiac cath procedure.

To make a long, convoluted story short, two days later, doctors finally agreed on a diagnosis. Lyme’s disease.

I’d heard about it, of course. But didn’t know that much about it. So, while waiting for him to be discharged, I did some research.

I found an excellent article that explains the science and history of Lyme’s. It’s a scary bad plague-like affliction of apparently epidemic proportions, though for some mysterious reason, it’s given little media attention. According to arizonaadvancedmedicine.com:

  • The organism responsible for Lyme disease was identified in 1981 by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, and named Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi), after its discoverer. It is similar in shape to the spirochete Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, the scourge.
  • Mankind’s earlier experience with a disease caused by a spirochete was syphilis, the scourge of Europe for hundreds of years. Syphilis was called “the Great Imitator” because its symptoms mimicked so many other diseases. The same is true with Lyme.
  • Lyme disease presents a host of challenges. Once the corkscrew-shaped spirochetes enter the bloodstream, they can cause a wide range of constitutional, musculoskeletal, and neurological symptoms.
  • New York pathologist Dr. Alan MacDonald found B. burgdorferi DNA in 1986 in seven out of ten autopsy samples from the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. MacDonald was also the first to document B. burgdorferi in fetal tissue, meaning the infection passes from mother to child in the womb.
  • The number of Lyme disease cases in the United States has doubled since 1991. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are nearly 325,000 new cases each year – making Lyme disease an epidemic larger than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and Avian Flu combined.

Lyme’s hides itself inside cysts so the immune system can’t find it. It also mutates, making it especially difficult to detect and treat.

In short, it’s one sneaky, sinister bugger.

Reading on Lyme’s resonated with memories of working as an assistant in the UW Hospital’s Department of Pediatric Oncology in the 1990s. Pediatric leukemia was the villain. An international team of research scientists was studying the use of Interleukin II to stimulate the body’s own immune system (T-cells to be exact) to heal this cancer.

Because I asked, one dedicated researcher described what she recognized as the deep, spiritual implications of her work. Her eyes radiated intense conviction as she described the war between good and evil going on at a cellular level. She described the insidious mechanisms of the disease and the doctors’ emotional battle to save afflicted children from pain and sure death.

That experience brought up many of the same questions I have now. Namely, why don’t practitioners of different medical sciences pool their information? Each has a significant piece, but only a partial piece of the larger puzzle. If a boundary spanner could bridge the gaps and put the pieces of the mosaic together, miracles would become possible.

I’m thinking specifically of the benefits attributed to the practice of Tai Chi and Chi Kung (QiGong). Both these approaches to healing-in-motion are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which in turn depends on the science encoded in the Book of Change, the I Ching.

Some preliminary work in this direction has already been done. For example, medical research documents that Tai Chi practice stimulates T-cells. In fact, this medical-martial arts discipline achieves what the researchers hoped to achieve with drugs. It stimulates the body’s immune system to protect against and reverse damage done to DNA.

Now here’s a secret hiding in plain sight. I Ching science has been correlated with DNA science. The ancients experienced through meditation what scientists much later discovered through painstaking empirical research. There is no conflict between conclusions, only many roads leading to the same knowledge.

One important difference between the medical and Tai Chi approach to healing, however, is its availability. Tai Chi has long been a family tradition passed on through the generations. It’s slowly becoming available in the West as well. But it requires an attitude of self-responsibility and diligence to practice these methods.

In contrast, drugs can be passively ingested with no intelligent participation on the part of those afflicted. Many drugs, however, have unforeseen and unwelcome side effects. In addition, some are prohibitively expensive, and for many, inaccessible.

I like to call Tai Chi the “poor man’s genome therapy.” The beauty of it is, that it hardly matters how you have become off balance or what symptoms you’re experiencing. Diligent practice restores health. It would seem that especially in a case like Lyme’s, where the symptoms are hard to detect, tend to mutate, and to take multiple forms, this universal solution is uniquely appropriate.

As it happens, I recently found a treasure in books by Jou, Tsung Hwa. The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan is exactly what I would love to share with Lee. The introduction begins:

I was a math teacher who had published about thirty books on mathematics in Chinese. In 1964 at the age of forty-seven, I became very ill with an enlarged heart and a gastroptosis, because of years of hard work and vigorous schedules. My doctor told me that my condition was incurable using available medication.

At the same time, however, one of his friends told him about Tai Chi Chuan and introduced Dr. Jou to a teacher. He continues:

At first, I had only enough strength to practice a half hour at a time. In only two weeks, my appetite improved and the frequency and severity of my stomach pain lessened. In three years my stomach was completely healed. In five years, my heart returned to normal, and I regained total good health without the use of drugs.

This good experience led to an interest in the Book of Change. In the introduction to his version,  The Tao of I Ching, Dr. Jou writes:

Since the I Ching was first translated into German and other languages, it has awakened great interest and fascinated countless people. Yet, I believe this interest is only a fraction of the attention it deserves when it is used in the way created to be used.

His next words made me jump for joy. I could not agree more:

Remember, this is not a book on Chinese culture or philosophy. This is a book about things no more exclusively Chinese than a lake, a person or the sky.

On a hunch just now, I googled “Tai Chi & Lyme’s Disease” and found this: Nothing is Incurable! In this case, the author is describing his experience with QiGong, the precursor and close relative of Tai Chi.

But why, then, am I conflicted about offering this extraordinarily hopeful approach to healing Lee’s Lyme’s disease?

Because he thinks it’s rubbish. Has an intense aversion against it, probably the result being educated in Catholic schools compounded with an aversion to what he dismisses as “New Age bullshit.”

Well, fortunately for me, I haven’t allowed centuries of historical atrocities committed in the name of the New Testament to alienate me from the teachings of Christ. Now, I can only hope that likewise, he will see fit to give this treasure the benefit of the doubt.

I pray for Lee. I pray that he be restored to health. Not only because as a repository of training, information and experience, he is irreplaceable. (He owes it to the rest of us to get well!!!) But also because this disease can be changed into a teacher and opportunity, if he can accept it as such.

My dearest hope is that, like Dr. Jou, when faced with dire medical circumstances, Lee’s eyes and heart will open to this healing alternative to drugs. May he be like the greatest doubter changed in a flash to become greatest advocate, a Saul become Paul, if you will.

I know he has the integrity, intelligence and will power to take responsibility for his healing and make this science in all its aspects his own. In turn, his example serve to might open Lyme’s researchers minds to alternative ways of erradicating B. burgdorferi DNA. This, in turn, might open doors of help for others suffering from this dreadful plague.

I pray for Lee for many reasons. Please pray for him as well. Your prayers will certainly speed his healing. When healed, he will most definitely become a helper and healer to you and yours in ways too many to count.

Blessings and thanks to all who read this.

Who Is Qualified to Know What – and How?

Have you ever thought about how the organizations you were born into – family, communities, governments – society in its many interdependent forms and interrelated facets – came into being? Or are you concerned about where they might now be headed?

I certainly do. Often.

Nor are we alone. Over history, serious thinkers have pondered the subject. A LinkedIn connection recently asked for my thoughts on the possible relationship between awareness and responsibility. He framed his question in the context of social contract theory.

Though initially the subject might seem academic, it’s the basic stuff of human survival. The quality of our lives – even, ultimately, our existence – depends on the level and quality of awareness leaders bring to their organizations.

In turn, their success as leaders depends on the trust, integrity and loyalty of their followers. For in fact, rights and responsibilities on both sides – leaders AND followers — are a two-way street. And when the delicate balance of expectations and obligations is violated, social fabric unravels.

contract

Yet the subject doesn’t get the serious attention it urgently deserves. The consequences of taking for granted what we have inherited, with too little awareness of dangers risked by squandering the fragile blessings we enjoy, need comprehensive rethinking NOW – before it’s too late.

I responded to the question with a LinkedIn article, “Natural Leadership or Authority – Where in the Wheel Do YOU Stand?” (See www.linkedin.com/pulse/natural-leadership-authority-where-wheel-do-you-stand-patricia-west.)

A comment on that post by Lloyd Amogan sparked this extension of the subject. With his permission, I’ll quote:

Yes, there is a relationship between social contract and awareness. The awareness has to involve both our physical levels and our Spiritual levels of Awareness/Consciousness, and not many are familiar with the Spiritual Levels, hence very few are qualified to teach.

I responded:

Your premise poses an interesting question, Lloyd. If the relationship “HAS to involve” full-spectrum awareness, yet many are NOT aware, how does lack of awareness impact of the status of the contract? Some theorize that the contract is “understood” or “implied.” Is this sufficient? What consequences follow from a lack of conscious, intentional involvement in the social contract?

An after thought, if Hobbes was unfamiliar, was he unqualified to write on the subject?

Hobbes, by the way, was famous for his view that, without the overseeing rule of a leviathan ruler, human life is necessarily “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Spiritual awareness, in his world view, was NOT a factor on either side of the leader-follower equation.

In contrast, trusted advisors to the rulers of long-lived Chinese dynasties depended on a high-level of awareness to maintain social-political stability. The Book of Change, the leadership manual upon which they depended, instills a comprehensive understanding of the human dynamics which drive social-political organizations.

The applications of the following Essay on Knowledge offer an approach to leadership awareness that might have a positive influence on the future directions of existing organizations:

globe bullet size

Essay 20. KNOWLEDGE

Lao Tzu believed that intuitive knowledge was the purest form of information. For that reason, he expressed his philosophy in the form of thought experiments — mental exercises designed to enhance and evolve the intuitive skills. In the Tao Te Ching, he compels us to use intuition as an equal partner with logic.” — R.L. Wing, The Tao of Power

There is a stream of transcendental, information power flowing into the DNA. . . The I CHING, which, by this hypothesis, is coincident with the DNA system, is perhaps the textbook for this cosmic force, the static tension and dynamic flux flowing into the matrix of the DNA.” — Martin Schönberger, The I Ching & The Genetic Code

Modern science tells us that the human organism is not just a physical structure made of molecules, but that, like everything else, we are also composed of energy fields. . . We, too, ebb and flow like the sea. We, too, are constantly changing. How do we, as human beings, deal with such information?” — Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

THE FRONT

Roots of knowledge mean both acknowledgment or confession, as well as to play, give, or move about. Webster’s first definition is the act, fact, or state of knowing, specifically direct acquaintance or familiarity with a fact or place.

It can mean awareness or understanding. It can mean acquaintance with the facts, range of information grasped by the mind, or enlightenment. It can mean the body of facts, principles accumulated by mankind. An archaic meaning includes carnal knowledge.

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. They influence cultural decisions about 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.

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

One overlooked knowledge matrix is ingrained in our very DNA. Many striking resemblances between the structure of DNA and I Ching hexagrams suggest at least one fascinating explanation for how/why this information source resonates with inner knowing. For example, it can’t be accidental that both are both based upon a binary-quaternary code that generates a system of 64 possibilities.

The chakra system of energy transformers which traverse the spine is another knowledge matrix that affects how we process and transmit information. Each chakra filters perception. Each influences the way we interpret experience. Their existence explains how/why the inspired ideas of every religion or science change over time, being diluted and narrowed to fit the thinking of less evolved followers.

One proof of this process is the wide array of Western psychologies, each relevant to a specific chakra issue. Skinner’s is a first chakra psychology based on behavior. Freud focused on sex, a second chakra issue. Adler thought in terms of power, the third chakra. Fromm wrote about love, the fourth chakra focus. Jung was interested in literary symbols and self-actualization, which are fifth and sixth center interests.

Asian sciences, however, have recognized the interactive relationships amongst these concerns. They provide practical methods for integrating the chakras to pave an optimally functioning two-directional highway of continuous energy and information.

Chakra filters also explain why some users interpret the I Ching through the filters of the sub-rational, using it as an oracle of divination. Farmers rely on it to predict the weather and agricultural yield. Others reject such use, preferring to regard The Book of Change as a rational manual for personal improvement and professional advancement.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners refer to it as a psychological and/or medical diagnostic instrument. Still others view it as a super-rational code book, giving it spiritual interpretations. For example Taoist masters interpret it as a yogic manual detailing the alchemical process of inner transformation.

Because it encompass the whole of human experience, the I Ching actually accommodates all of these perspectives – and more.

THE BACK

Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge. It can be the innocence of an inexperienced child, or the result of being kept in the dark, deceived or misled. Some people know, but deny who they are and what they know. The social price of being different seems too high. Others fail to use love and creativity to bridge the gap between inner knowledge and outer experience, and succumb to madness.

Delusion is a perversion of knowledge. It’s a belief that things are as one wants or fears, not as they actually are; or thinking one knows everything there is to know, when one doesn’t. Untrained mediums are sometimes misguided either by their own fantasies or dark angels posing as benefactors.

Rethinking CHANGE

Natural change on the surface and middle levels of the Life Wheel is ongoing and inevitable. In addition, ignorant and/or irresponsible people superimpose additional layers of unnatural change to the mix, products of cultural conditioning and human agendas. So the best hope we have for maintaining inner and outer stability in the midst of chaos and suffering is to focus on the unchanging center. Otherwise, working consistently to achieve worthwhile long-term goals would be impossible. Hence, from the Introduction to the Common Sense Book of Change:

Ancient sages looked to The Book of Change primarily to discover ways to maintain balance and stability in the midst of change.

Advisors to long-lasting dynasties in China observed how to adjust with the winds and waves of time just as a ship pilot shifts the sails or a surfer rides the cresting water to reach a far shore safely.

They knew that temporal wisdom depends on the existence of a timeless essence deeper than change, the same at the heart of the universe, the individual and every atom.

Here, then, is an Essay on natural change from an I Ching perspective:

Phoenix - sized


Essay 11. CHANGE

We have always thought of the Bible as a book. We now know that was only its first incarnation. It is also a computer program. Not merely a book that Rips typed into a computer, but something that its original author actually designed to be interactive and ever-changing.  — Michael Drosnin, The Bible Code

 

For the last eight years, I have been studying all the various ways that people can heal, and I have integrated all the integrative medicine approaches, and I have learned how to change my lifestyle. . . I can honestly tell you that the one thing I never questioned was the fact that there is divine order, that there is a supreme being behind the universe. I’ve always known that. It’s as if it’s in my DNA. [The “Power to Change” Tour] — Naomi Judd, Larry King Live Interview

 

The responsibility for [improvement strategies] rests at the top, as in everything that has to do with the spirit of an organization. And so the executives who run innovative organizations must train themselves to look out the window, to look for change. The funny thing is, it’s easier to learn to look out the window than to look inside, and that’s also a smart thing to do systematically. — Peter F. Drucker, Managing the Non-Profit Organization

 

THE FRONT

Webster’s gives seven definitions of change. Root derivations include exchange, or bent and crooked, suggesting the image of a curved, wavy line. The first definition of the verb is to substitute, replace or transfer one thing for another. The second is to give and receive reciprocally, exchange or switch. The third is to cause to become different, alter, transform, convert, or undergo a variation. The fourth is to give or receive the equivalent of a coin in currency. The fifth is to put on other clothes. The sixth, used as a noun, describes the place where merchants do business. The seventh is the pattern in which bells are rung. By extension, jazz musicians use the term to denote chord progressions.

Translators call the dynamic natural law mapped in the I Ching “change.” However, if we think of the word as its regularly used, we miss what the book’s really about. Change isn’t synonymous with political reform, for example, which results, literally, in different forms. Rarely does it bring about qualitative change. Revolution is closer. Just as the minute hand of a clock revolves once an hour back to its starting point, governments revolve over time from reactionary to revolutionary extremes and back. Rarely, however, is long-term qualitative change is achieved in the process.

Evolution is another word used to mean change. Often it implies improvement. However, life is not like a mechanical clock which always runs forward. Over time, poor choices and destructive behavior change us for the worse. The life clock can be turned counter-clockwise. Humans have equal potential for both evolution and devolution.

No one can take for granted either that change is automatically good, or that no matter what one does or doesn’t do, improvement is inevitable. The I Ching helps careful thinkers to relate wisely to change, to ensure through their choices that they actualize their potentials for positive growth.

As Drucker indicates, leaders too often think of change as external, something imposed from the outside upon others. They too often forget about the personal, internal changes that must precede any qualitative, long-lasting external change. Repent is defined as an awakening of conscience that stimulates regret for past mistakes and determination to improve. The warning “repent before it’s too late” on one level refers to a change of heart. On another, it indicates, as Einstein warned, the urgent need to change the way we think and therefore respond to life’s challenges.

In The Bible Code, a challenge was found in proximity to a pending assassination: “Can you change it?” Drosnin took the question literally and made a futile attempt to warn Prime Minister Rabin, as if to change the course of history.

Perhaps on another level the question implies other challenges. Maybe we are being asked to change our relationship to the timeless teachings we take for granted, to look again with fresh eyes and change not external events, but rather our hearts and minds, to change from the inside out.

THE BACK

The opposite of change is stasis. People who feel threatened by change and think they can benefit from resisting it try to freeze time. This results not in perfection, however, but in stagnation and decay. While natural change is vital and life-enhancing, obstructing it is counter-productive and ultimately self-destructive.

Anarchy is a perversion of natural change. Nature is exquisitely ordered and therefore, to those who observe carefully, predictable. Political radicals impatient with corrupt governments leap to opposite and equal abuses of power. Lacking wisdom, their violence abruptly shatters existing order, but fails to improve the quality of life. On subtle levels, attempts to destroy natural patterns results not in desired freedom, but in annihilation.

——————

* From Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide. See the UPSG Essay Page for a description of the structure-within-structure format of the Essays, an overview of CONSCIENCE: