Tag Archives: Lao Tze

Rethinking SURVIVAL

Today’s post is written with a wink and a nod towards the venerable Bruce Lipton, who confirmed through science what the ancients earlier believed about our eternal spirit.

I’m winking because I totally empathize with the frustration you experienced, being ahead of your times, virtually unheard for decades. The good news is, however long it took, the public is finally getting there.

Being in my 74th year, I too have waited a long time, the patient custodian of work with the potential to alter the outcomes of our extreme times. This work augments yours.

I’m nodding towards you here, thinking perhaps getting your attention could make a difference in whether this vitally important work finally sees the light of day.

The stakes could not be higher, so here’s my best shot. But not to worry. I’ll keep it simple and interesting, so the taste of this sample leaves you wanting more.

My point has three parts:

  • Part One describes your discovery and how it validates ancient wisdomin particular, Lao Tze.
  • Part Two looks forward towards the work I could bring to the table. It complements both empirical science and ancient wisdom – in particular, the Life Wheel which embodies Einstein’s Unified Field Theory. (Yes, though unawares, he had, in fact, received it.)
  • Part Three looks at apparently contradictory definitions of “survival.” I place them in the context of the Life Wheel, the better to confirm that part of us which never dies, and, further, to suggest how best to use that knowledge to regenerate ourselves and in the process, create a better future.

Phoenix - sized

Part One. Here, in your own words, transcribed from a 2015 Youtube video, “A Message of Love,” is the story of your transformational discovery:

The most profound teachers I ever sat before . . . were so magnificent that I can’t fully put [their lessons] into words. Who were those teachers? They were the cells that I was working on in a petri dish. Talking to them. Watching them, day-by-day. Seeing how they lived. And then opening to the message.

That message?

They showed me from my point of view and my reference to life, that there was something called “spirituality” that I didn’t know existed. . . . And the moment I saw the mechanics of how a signal from the universe comes into my body-suit, my virtual reality suit. . . There was this instant of recognition. I said, “Oh my God! I can’t die!”

The result:

It was an OWNING of spirit. . . And the moment I owned it, a weight I never even knew I was carrying around . . . whoosh . . . disappeared. Because I became free for the first time to recognize I’m here for something other than my [mundane] life. I’m going to own who I AM. I’m a spirit that has come to this planet to experience and to create and to manifest heaven on earth.. . It’s an understanding that it’s all driven by love.

Now, in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze repeatedly confirms what you experienced as our inherent immortality. For example, Passage 16 describes the creative process:

16 quote

Conscious life continues on, rooted in a reality larger than a single lifetime. Passage 54 tells us:

54 quote

Passage 33 urges us to be steadfast in our experience of eternal life:

33 quote

Even further, when meditators intentionally pierce the veil of illusion, traveling back through and beyond time and space, they are, as Dr. Joe Dispenza puts it, “reborn in the same life time.”

Or, in your words:

I now have two lives. I have previous learning life. Struggle, anger, control, trying to fix everything. And I have post experience. A calmness. An understanding that it’s all driven by love. Even if other people can’t see through their filters of criticism, they’re still driven by love. Every one of you is a piece of all that IS. Every one of you!

The first Passage from my version, Two Sides of a Coin, gives words to the way ancients experienced travel beyond time:01

Tai Chi Tu

Part Two. Now, how do we identify and connect with that unchanging source, the “unified center achieved in stillness” of which Lao Tze speaks? Where is it located? Within us? Outside and all around us? Both?

To quote myself:

In working with wisdom traditions, I’ve become certain that each is striving to express a particular aspect of a single, unnameable Truth. Further, each is a mosaic piece of a larger picture. When the pieces are put together, the sum is greater than its parts.

The Positive Paradigm of Change adapted from the Life Wheel is that larger picture. It draws from wisdom traditions, both East and West. It is consistent with biblical teachings and the essence of I Ching philosophy. It is yoga-compatible. In addition, it’s equally compatible with modern science.

In Rethinking Survival, the Positive Paradigm of Change is described as:

. . . . a new, inclusive reality map, one people worldwide can easily comprehend and agree upon. It is equally compatible with scriptures and science, bridging the gap between them. It fulfills Einstein’s intuited search for the Unified Field Theory, picturing how all parts of creation are related, interwoven and interdependent.

Working with the Positive Paradigm empowers the “substantially new manner of thinking,” which, Einstein said, is necessary “if mankind is to survive.”

It looks like this:

Unified Field Theory

The Positive Paradigm wheels-within-wheels model consists of concentric circles around a common center. It places the three variables of Albert Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 (energy, mass and light) in a two-directional, infinite continuum.

This Synthesis Wheel mirrors the microcosmic structure of atoms as well as the macrocosmic structure of planetary systems. On the largest scale of magnitude, it reflects the in- and out-breaths of perpetually expanding and contracting universes.

This familiar structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns covering Muslim mosques. They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity, and to a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.

Elsewhere, I’ve described its value thusly:

This Wheel of Change is a paradigm, meaning a worldview. It offers a positive alternative to the prevailing, dysfunctional paradigms which cause so much misery. It is an inclusive reality map that accords with the way life truly is, showing the full spectrum of human potentials. It explains how the world works, how the individual fits into it, and what is required to truly survive.

Unlike exclusively materialistic, atheistic, hedonist or religionist paradigms, all levels of experience are present, and in balanced, aligned relationship with each other. Nothing is missing. Nothing is out of place.

This paradigm pictures an elegantly simple yet complete reality map that meets the standard of Occam’s razor: maximum inclusiveness with greatest simplicity.

I explain the levels, with this caveat:

Yoga scriptures correlate the three levels of the Wheel with three different states of consciousness. Most of us experience the states of waking, sleep and dreamless sleep separately. However, it is possible to experience the entire continuum simultaneously while remaining fully conscious.

In the terms of modern brain science, this is accomplished by not only integrating functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, but by simultaneously coordinating the full span of vibrational brain wave frequencies from fastest (beta) to slowest (delta). The fully enlightened sage’s experience of linking the levels is called “turyia.” In that state, a highly accomplished being is said to be “here and there at the same time.”

The concentric circles aren’t literally separate and discrete. Rather, they are a continuum along the infinite spectrum of creation. Within each layer are numerous distinctions verified only by direct experience. For the sake of the following discussion, however, the three levels are described as if discrete, starting from the surface of the Wheel and moving inwards.

And with that said, here are the three states:

m = mass. The outer rim of the circle is the realm of the material, manifested world of creation. This level is the abode of empirical science which measures tangible, measurable things. It is the plane of duality, the fluctuating ebb and flow of mortal life, the ups and downs of daily experience.

It is the realm into which public school education too often squeezes and flattens children. This is the level of which Einstein said, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Those focused excessively here are unduly attached to material possessions as well as to money, social status and institutional power. Here appearances are more important than substance. Saving face replaces authentic virtue.

Paradoxically, out of balance, abundance on the material plane seems to foster an insatiable sense of lack. Limited connection with the center breeds insecurities and greed. The infinite variations on the same eternal forms are misconstrued as grounds for cultural conflict and competition for illusory supremacy.

When people live primarily on the surface, with the middle (primarily “unconscious”) level clogged and in conflict, systems break down. Attempting to fix problems caused by this inner turmoil at the superficial level can not achieve any lasting, qualitative improvement.

e = energy. Much ignorance, misinformation and confusion surrounds the energy level of the Wheel. The state of chaos into which the world has degenerated attests to this deficiency, as well as the urgent need to correct it.

The middle level is the domain of Natural Law mapped in the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change. These changes are the energetic underpinnings of the dynamic, physical world, experienced as the recurring cycles of seasonal change, as well as humans cycles of birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth.

The middle layer is the realm of less tangible but still measurable states of energy, including electricity. More subtly, it is the chi, ki or prana described in Asian traditions as the life force which animates all living beings. In Greek and Christian contexts it correlates with the breath, the psyche.

These subtle energies influence internal [most often ‘unconscious’] psychological states and drive external human behavior, which in turn affects social relationships. A clear understanding of these dynamics is essential to personal survival.

Now, as you’ll recall, I earlier asked, “How do we identify and connect with that unchanging source, the “unified center achieved in stillness” of which Lao Tze speaks? Where is it located?”

The answer rests deep within the levels of “Light” and “Source of Light” at the central hub of the Wheel:

c = light. The hub of the wheel, the Source of Light, is innermost state of being. It is silent yet fertile, that from which all forms emanate and to which all return. It is the alpha and omega, the ultimate and exclusive source of infinite light and power.

Merging with this all-encompassing source of consciousness is what scriptures refer to, quite literally, as “enlightenment.”

The deepest center is the original seed of life from which creative solutions and new beginnings emerge in answer to the prayers and sincere efforts of those who hear and do. It’s the unfailing source, deeper than ephemeral fears, which gives survivors the inner strength to withstand the sudden shocks and catastrophic changes of Titanic times.

The experience of light is described with worlds like inspiration, intuition or guidance.

Unlike the levels of mass and energy, which can be described at length from experience, the center of light is best honored in silence. Or at least as few words as possible.

0 Hush

Here’s just one example of the myriad ways the Life Wheel is adapted to picture deep understanding. It plugs Passage One into the levels of the Wheel, depicting Lao Tze’s travel away from previous life learning – struggle, anger and control on the outer rim of the Life Wheel – towards the innermost, post-experience of supreme calm.

Inward-pointing arrows trace the path of release; outward-pointing arrows point towards physical manifestation. In the words of the biblical God of Moses, this repetitive, full-circle dynamic is spoken as a command: “Return unto me and I return unto you.”

II-8 rev

Way cool, huh!

Part Three. At the outset, I promised to look at apparently contradictory definitions of “survival” by placing them in Life Wheel context. Briefly, it’s important to rescue the word from the negative context of stress. Survival emotions are counterproductive. However, survival also means to continue to exist through dangerous situations, to live when death seemed imminent. It can be associated with being alive and enduring. Viable ancient customs and beliefs, for example, are said to survive through the ages.

The ongoing concern of this website, RethinkingSurvival.com is based on this premise:

Human survival, Einstein warned us, can no longer be taken for granted. Tipping the scales of history in favor of survival depends on freeing ourselves from the mental prison of limited, delusional thinking.

Again, quoting myself:

Chances of success in life are slim to none without an accurate reality map. It’s imperative to have a complete picture of your potentials along with a correct understanding of the world around you, and what’s required to survive in that world. Basing decisions on a worldview that’s distorted, incomplete or otherwise out of synch with the way things really are seriously diminishes chances of survival. In times as dangerous as these, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re operating on complete and correct information.

To the point, just briefly, I’ll introduce the Fifth Axiom derived from the Positive Paradigm. “History Is Neither Progressive or Linear, Nor can Human Survival Be Taken for Granted.”

The final Corollary E: An apparent death sentence makes time remaining all the more precious. In biblical terms, awareness of impending disaster is motive and opportunity to repent (meaning to change one’s heart and ways), and to atone (meaning to realign – be ‘at one’ – with the center), using the gift of whatever time is left gratefully, wisely and well.

Some will actually defy medical/historical prognosis and survive to carry on, whether it be here, in other dimensions or even different universes. (Science fiction fans of TV’s two-hearted, regenerating time traveler Dr. Who are well-acquainted with these possibilities.)

CONCLUSION

Bruce, your time has arrived. You get to travel the world, sharing your insights. I’d love to do the same. But mine has yet to come. The I Ching, the super-ancient foundation of Lao Tze’s wisdom, has yet to be reintroduced, refurbished, for survivors who urgently need access to the cosmic clock. Its 64 hexagrams (does that non-coincidental number make you think of DNA?! ), and each of the six-level AC-DC, binary-digital constructs are a short-hand representing the dynamic interactions amongst the six primary energy centers. . . tons of information is stored here like buried treasure to be recovered through diligent re-search. (Understatement.)

But, just maybe, my reaching out to a fellow early-adaptive thinker might change that. After all, within the quantum field of God, all things are possible!

N.B. I’ve already written a post for your compadre, Gregg Braden. On the drawing board is another, on Creativity and Genius, favorite words of another amigo, Joe Dispenza. So is a final one, The Universal Pattern.

Ripples in Time

 

 

Lao Tze & the I Ching Go Hand in Glove

The Tao Te Ching and I Ching compliment each other like the right and left hands of a pair of gloves. Working with either book illumines the other.

I’ll give you an example that compares and contrasts these two treasures.

SunriseSunrise

 

Starting at the beginning, here’s a Book of Change description of the Creative Source.

01 Creative Power

Now, look at the first passage the Tao Te Ching to see how Lao Tze expands on the same concept.

01

Receptive Openness, the compliment of Creative Power’s complete yang, is complete yin. The Common Sense Book of Change expresses it thus:

Passage 4 of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Book of Change expresses the same vision this way:

04

Chinese landscape

The difference between these complimentary approaches is in their use. Work inter-actively with the I Ching to trigger inner knowing, making the unconscious conscious. Sit quietly with Lao Tze’s aphorisms, allowing them to serve as passages to higher levels of consciousness.

 

Truth IS . . .

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson says, “Truth is the handmaiden of love. Dialogue is the pathway to truth.”

I say, “Dialogue may be the instrument of coming to common understanding between individuals and amongst groups. But Truth has many levels.”

TruthLevels021713

At the center of the Life Wheel, Truth partakes of the absolute, unchanging source. But ephemeral manifestations of truth depend upon the focus and direction of travel – the inward or outward pathway – within the Life Wheel.

These distinctions serve to solve much confusion. Understanding them simplifies and clarifies experience.

“Hard evidence” partakes of facts and data verifiable by standard research methods. It lives on the ephemeral surface of the Wheel.

The truth of subjective opinions and feelings/emotions is also subject to continuous change. They reside at the middle level.

Absolute, unchanging Truth rests within the innermost center of the Life Wheel. Several bible study blogs elaborate on Truth at this level:

If we ever hope to determine if there is such a thing as truth apart from cultural and personal preferences, we must acknowledge that we are then aiming to discover something greater than ourselves, something that transcends culture and individual inclinations.  To do this is to look beyond ourselves and outside of ourselves.  In essence, it means we are looking for God.  God would be truth, the absolute and true essence of being and reality who is the author of all truth.  If you are interested in truth beyond yourself, then you must look to God.

References include:

Proverbs says, “one who speaks the truth gives honest evidence. (12:17)

Truth is also a quality used to describe utterances that are from the Lord. The psalmist tells God to “guide me in your truth” (25:5); the psalmist asks God to “send forth your light and your truth.” (43:3)

Ultimately, Jesus said,”I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6)

Now, the absolute truth experienced and then described in scripture is unfathomable to most of us. As written elsewhere:

The bad news is, it’s like trying to explain what colors look like to a blind person, or how chocolate tastes to someone who’s never had any.

The good news, however, is that inner truth can be known by direct experience. And there are means and methods for getting from here to there.”

Were you to ask a Zen master how to achieve enlightenment, the simple answer you’d probably get is: “SHUT UP!”

In gentler form, the Yoga Sutras of Patajani offer the same solution.

As I’ve also written elsewhere, the path of a Truth is a two way street.

To know the truth, be quiet. “Shut Up.” “Be still and know that I AM God.” Travel the inward path from surface to center of the Life Wheel to reunite with the Creative Source experienced as Conscience.

If you want know the world, then reverse course. Move in the opposite direction. Extend outwards from stillness towards the manifest world on the hub of the Wheel.

Lao Tze puts it this way:

01

Phoenix - sized

On another tack, in two separate posts, I’ve written about truth as game. Popular shows you’re probably familiar with include TO TELL THE TRUTH and TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES.

In Yes, AND. . . I wrote:

Bogus claims . . . remind me of the long-running TV game show, “To Tell the Truth.” In this format, three challengers are introduced to a celebrity panel, each claiming to be the featured guest. Impostors can lie and pretend to be the central character. Only the real one is sworn to tell the truth. Panelists are challenged to ask penetrating questions, see through deceptions, and correctly identify the truth teller.

In this game reality, the best liars are rewarded. But that’s not how it works in the real world. There’s nothing entertaining or ultimately rewarding about deceiving the public. Yet, at this stage of history, it’s nigh unto impossible for all but the most discriminating (in the positive sense) to tell the difference between imitators and the “real deal.” Shameless parodies of wisdom traditions abound.

As for Truth or Consequences, it may be well worth your while to check out the entire post. Here’s a snippet:

I remembered this experience while writing about Terry Silver’s three rules for winning an unfair fight. He advised Daniel-san, the Karate Kid:

  • If a man can’t stand, he can’t fight. So break his knees.
  • If a man can’t breathe, he can’t fight. So break his nose.
  • If a man can’t see, he can’t fight. So gouge out his eyes.

Granted, I appreciate what the monkey prohibitions were getting at originally. It has to do with the meditative discipline of Stillness. If the bans are a warning not to get entangled in negative situations that poison mental clarity, not to speak impulsively or slander others, and not to project dark side urges onto others, then fine. Otherwise not.

 

Angel Calling

Be Harmless, NOT Defenseless

Jordan Peterson is drawing predictable backlash upon himself.

Though a clinical psychologist, he seems irrationally intent on attracting danger, while at the same time, logically, persuasively but incorrectly protesting that retreating from conflict when you shouldn’t “will cause self-annihilation.”

The qualifier is “when you shouldn’t.” Sun Tzu, reputed author of The Art of War, is keen on the importance of knowing when to make strategic retreats. There is, after all, a time and place for every purpose under heaven.

Second, what does he mean by “self-annihilation?” As righteous warriors grounded in Old Testament faith know full well, the true Self is indestructible. So also, savvy martial artists who are seeped in I Ching wisdom trust that true identity is neither enhanced nor diminished by the dance of advance and retreat.

So what’s really at stake in pressing forward against the tide, against the grain, against the laws of nature? Why vent rage, disgust and contempt at despicable, treacherous, venomous opponents? If he exposes and humiliates them, however much deserved, they will mirror his negativity back – in spades. It’s called backlash. Every action generates an opposite and equal reaction. It’s a natural law of psychological physics.

There are other, wiser ways to shift gears — address valid grievances on higher ground without attracting inevitable vengeful retaliation.

Persisting in upping the ante, provoking human snakes, smells like pride to me. Hubris, to be precise. The stuff of tragedy in the making.

I am afraid for this highly articulate but unin-formed professor.

Here’s an example of the inevitable retaliation and escalating conflict he has drawn not only into his own personal life, but also into his neighborhood — not to mention the media.

On October 26th, 2017, he posted on Twitter: Those who consider themselves my enemies have been posting these all around my home neighbourhood.

Here’s the poster:

jbp

I tweeted back, “What else would you expect?” Afterwards, I realized that without this explanation, the remark wouldn’t make sense. Hence, this blog of explanation.

Phoenix - sized

Please understand. I do not write to humiliate or diminish Dr. Peterson. Quite the opposite. He has become to the current generation of young people what John F. Kennedy was to mine. A symbol of nobility. Of hope.

I remember as painfully as if it were yesterday what it felt like to me and my friends when we heard the news that his brains had been splattered by an assassin’s bullet.

I dearly want that NOT to happen again.

I’m writing to warn Dr. Peterson. To suggest ways to protect himself, not only for his own sake and for his family’s, but for those to whom he has become a hero – who would be shattered were he to come to harm.

To plead with him to rethink the limited psychology which allows him to rationalize such intensely emotional, dangerous risk-taking.

I’m writing to urge him to add to his armory of psychologies the survival wisdom of Lao Tze and the foundational attitudes prescribed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Their teachings have guided the lives of truth seekers of thousands years. There must be something of value to recommend them, having withstood this test of time.

For example, Dr. Peterson knows not whereof he speaks when he says, “Don’t be harmless.

Is he intentionally rejecting ancient wisdom by this word choice, or is he unaware of the significance of this virtue in ancient lore?

Lao Tze, in fact, uses harmlessness as his defense. It’s a time-honored strategy.

Here is a famous drawing of Lao Tze riding his ox. He is credited with writing The Tao Te Ching, which next to the Bible is the world’s most often translated scripture. It shows the enlightened sage as so intricately merged with the beast which carries him that they appear inseparable. This image represents the higher mind which has tamed and harnessed the energy of emotions. He uses them to carry him towards his destination.

Lao Tze on Ox

I will give you a hint of this survival approach to dealing with snakes excerpted from Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change.

snake

Passage 50 reads, in part:

Those who live by the law are protected by it.

They travel the world without being injured.

In the midst of hostilities, no one knows where to attack.

Wild beasts sense no openings to penetrate.

Enemies find no weaknesses to exploit.

Armies can’t locate a fortress to assault.

This accords with the following section about harmlessness used as defense strategy.

Non-Violence

Taoists abhor selfish meddling and gratuitous violence as equally destructive to individuals, society and the environment.

In this, their thinking is in accord with the most fundamental tenet of the yoga. Non-violence is the virtue listed first among the commitments which constitute the fundamental basis of yoga disciplines. The attitude of harmlessness, or non-violence, is the prerequisite upon which all more advanced spiritual practices depend.

In Sutra 35 of Book II, Patanjali informs us that:

When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.

Similarly, in Passage 55 Lao Tze describes sages as being accomplished in the ways of the ancient yoga masters:

Sages who master the infant’s harmlessness:

don’t startle wasps or snakes, and therefore don’t get stung;

don’t threaten angry beasts, and therefore are left in peace;

don’t bother birds of prey and therefore aren’t carried off.

Lao Tze describes non-violence as the cornerstone of social stability. In Passage 68 he tells us:

The best leaders act with subtle dignity.

Successful warriors move with alert caution.

Enduring winners shun prideful vengeance.

Good employers quietly support their workers.

The way of non-violence is the supreme treasure of communities

founded in the eternal Tao.

book header bird

Again, let me emphasize that I wish Dr. Peterson all the best. May he live long and prosper. Let him put on the full armor of God for protection. Give him the wisdom to tame his righteous indignation with the discipline of a seasoned sage. Let him survive as a shining inspiration to those who have come to treasure his innate nobility.

As yet, for whatever reasons, he remains unresponsive. The Catch 22 seems to be that since I’m not a well-known public figure, he assumes he has no grounds for communication. In Don’t throw pearls before swine, he says, “You cannot talk to people who will not engage in a discussion.”

So be it. He says he had no desire to engage in the legislative issue that catapulted him to fame, but felt compelled to do so. In exactly the same way, I had no desire whatsoever to write these blogs, but felt deeply compelled to do so. Unfathomable but somehow irresistible.

Whatever the outcome, at least I’ve done my best. And having done so, leave the future in trust to God’s will.

Angel Calling

Fresh Start

 With four equally compelling bogs on the drawing board, it was hard to choose which to complete first. An article Pinned Tweeted to Jordan B. Peterson’s account boiled it down to two.

Tim Lott’s Life Spectator article, Jordan Peterson and the transgender wars, bears the subtitle, “The psychology professor is in trouble with the transgender crowd. He is also one of the foremost thinkers of our age.”

The first choice from this article echoes a book in the works, The Phoenix Response:

He [Peterson – JBP] points out that the INRI inscription on crucifixes has a mystical meaning, apart from ‘King of the Jews’ — ‘Through fire all nature is renewed.’ Which means that in order to renew your soul, you have to die and be reborn repeatedly.

The second choice, however, is closer to practical home. So that’s where I’m starting today. Besides being the eve of a projected doomsday event, Saturday, September 23. 2017 is close to the Fall Equinox, the Jewish New Year — Rosh Hashona — a new moon and to Old Avatar’s birthday. He’s seated at his work desk, mentally traveling through Otherwhere space, to outward appearances reading through a stack of James Wesley Rawles books. “Do not disturb.”

Be that as it may, according to Lott:

More than 90 per cent of his [Peterson’s] audience are men, which seems a pity since there is nothing particularly gender-specific about his teachings. Why the imbalance then?

Because these men’s stress levels are very high,’ he says. ‘I’m telling them something they desperately need to hear — that there are important things that need to be fixed up.

‘I’m saying, “You guys really need to get your act together and you need to bear some responsibility and grow the hell up.”

Lott continues:

At this point, to my astonishment, Peterson begins to weep. He talks through his tears for the next several minutes.

Every time I talk about this, it breaks me up,’ he says. ‘The message I’ve been delivering is, “Find the heaviest weight you can and pick it up. And that will make you strong. You’re not who you could be. And who you could be is worthwhile.”’

They’re so starving for that message. Young men are so desperate for a pathway that they are dying for it. And it’s heart-breaking and terrible that this idea has been kept from them. . . . Some of the young men who come to my lectures are desperately hanging on every word because I am telling them that they are sinful, and insufficient, and deceitful and contemptible in their current form, but that they could be far more than that, and that the world NEEDS THAT. [emphasis added.]

Though hardly the masculine role model young men crave, I too grieve for their plight. But young women are just as much at risk! For many of them, a gentler, yin perspective on his intensely yang presentation of universal truths is what’s needed to bring his skewed audience numbers into balance.

For my story certainly includes gender-confusion issues. Here’s a snippet excerpted from the “Who I Am To Say” section of Rethinking Survival.

The specter of suicidal thoughts haunted my up-bringing. It’s taken me over fifty years to track this demon to its lair and tame it. In retrospect, in simplest terms, I was raised in a family, reinforced by a culture, which disconfirmed my very existence.

A girl who in no way matched demeaning stereotypes — who had no desire to either cynically exploit or fearfully cave into them — was simply a non-being. She could not and should not exist. The tacit message: “Make yourself gone.”

At first I coped with less catastrophic compliance — denial. I reasoned like this: “Women are stupid, fickle and helpless. If I’m not stupid, fickle and helpless, then I’m not a woman.” I disowned the labels associated with gender and escaped into music and books.

Only later, a yogic energy understanding of the difference between feminine essence and cultural molds allowed me to rescue the baby from the bath water, reestablish an identity in harmony with the facts.

Phoenix - sized

In any case, it remains that for those on both sides of the gender see-saw, there’s a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. Historically, at critical mass, hidden opportunities buried within danger emerge. The dedication to Two Sides reads:

Though it may seem as if [Millennials] have been economically disenfranchised by their elders, material misfortune . . . contains within it the hidden seeds of humanity’s long-term survival.

Ours isn’t the first time in the repeating cycles of history that leaders have squandered national resources. But in the context of Lao Tze’s larger reality, material resources aren’t that significant when compared to the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those who choose to access the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.

Millennials are the ones for whom the results of the current conflict paradigm are so catastrophically dysfunctional that they have no vested interests to protect. They’re the ones prepared to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasure of . . . the Tao Te Chings wisdom.

They’ve been given the greater opportunity to . . . become the truly radical agents of genuine, positive change. [They have] the means to see through Saul Alinsky’s pseudo-radical pose, answer his twisted rhetoric, and choose the truly radical approach to change.

In work presented elsewhere, I’ve described additional teaching tools which compliment Peterson’s array. BUT . . . I’ve long since come to the conclusion that books and videos aren’t enough. For several reasons.

First, young people need direct interaction with mentors. In addition to psychological advice, they need opportunities to build practical skills. Abstract internet connections are much better than nothing. But they’re not the same as immediate, face-to-face, working relationships.

Second, young people are starved for daily, immediate working environments which support their efforts towards positive change. It’s not enough to walk away from negative pseudo-friends and exploitative employers. There has to be someplace positive, healthy and supportive to go, to live, to sink roots. . . a place where creativity is valued, honesty is rewarded, and personal growth is encouraged.

It’s not only a mental/spiritual pathway young people are starved for. Optimally, they need community: physical locations where they can gather and work together under structured supervision towards a noble goal: human survival, for example.

As it stands now, one of the major reasons many fear change is that personal transformation is the social equivalent of suicide. Too often, there are few rewards and heavy punishments associated with personal growth. In a world where old paradigms are dying, those with vested interests in the status quo are fiercely protective of “normalcy.”

My own university experience is a good example. When I entered the UW-Madison Department of Educational Administration, the doctoral thesis of my choice was “The Origin and Future of Universities.” The plan was to expand on a paper written for an Educational Policy course. It found that universities no longer meet basic student needs and advocated building alternative schools which do.

How naive. Professors married to their comfortable status quo would not allow it.

As a condition of graduation, I was obliged to conduct a statistical research study on women principals in elementary public schools – far afield from my interests in every respect. For a complex set of reasons, including that the Ph.D. credential was essential to accreditation of an alternative school – I completed the study.

Unfortunately, as “fate” would have it, I inadvertently produced statistically significant results that were just as controversial as my original thesis topic. Scratch the surface, it seems. You’ll find problems lurking just beneath.

In this case, analysis of the principal selection process showed that public school administration is a closed-shop monopoly. A pre-selection process grooms candidates who reflect the values and personal attributes of current power-holders. The only teachers who pursue administrator degrees or credentials are those who have already been quietly promised a job. Only pre-approved candidates enter the formal selection process.

Was I rewarded for exposing what insiders already knew? Not in the least!

In retrospect, this career was not meant to be. At least not yet, or as I imagined it then. Within months of my thesis defense in 1978, the rug was pulled out from underneath me. Both of the protectors who guided me safely through the politics of education disappeared. My statistics professor, who was astonished at the quality of my work, died suddenly in his sleep. The job we’d lined up was defunded. My major professor, who never doubted I’d land on my feet, no matter what, retired early and moved out of state (in large part in protest over the way his colleagues had treated me).

I was stranded, left out in the cold – with school loans to pay.

I’m not complaining, mind you. In retrospect, it was the ongoing work of an invisible, friendly hand, closing doors to open windows. But from direct experience, I well appreciate that creative people, no matter how conscientious and agreeable, are likely to find themselves excluded from thoroughly corrupt institutions. It’s simply not a match. Truth seekers and unnatural institutions are – with rare exceptions – a contradiction in terms.

I did, of course, manage to land on my feet. In turn, it has become my calling to facilitate safe landing for as many others as possible.

The alternative school I had in mind earlier was a School-Without-Walls. It would have allowed self-responsible students to define a professional goal and then select all relevant courses combined with internship experiences that furthered that goal. For example, a golfer could study everything from physiology to design and maintenance of greens to teaching golf students to acquiring the business skills necessary to run his business.

JBP speaks of a future Truth University. Yes. That’s foundational. But it’s not enough, especially because the times are growing ever more precarious, on many fronts. There’s no guaranteeing how long the infrastructure that sustains civilization will remain functional. So now I’m thinking more along the lines of monasteries established as islands of survival, community and learning during dark ages, both in Europe and Asia.

The James Wesley Rawles books OA has been browsing are much to the point. Reading these would be an excellent use of time.

Here’s the amazon description of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse:

America faces a full-scale socioeconomic collapse— the stock market plummets, hyperinflation cripples commerce and the mounting crisis passes the tipping point. Practically overnight, the fragile chains of supply and high-technology infrastructure fall, and wholesale rioting and looting grip every major city.

As hordes of refugees and looters pour out of the cities, a small group of friends living in the Midwest desperately tries to make their way to a safe-haven ranch in northern Idaho. The journey requires all their skill and training since communication, commerce, transportation and law enforcement have all disappeared. Once at the ranch, the group fends off vicious attacks from outsiders and then looks to join other groups that are trying to restore true Constitutional law to the country.

Patriots is a thrilling narrative depicting fictional characters using authentic survivalist techniques to endure the collapse of the American civilization. Reading this compelling, fast-paced novel could one day mean the difference between life and death.

One review reads:

I read this book after reading “One Second After”. [a nuclear holocaust scenario] They are two different books by two very different authors. I think it’s a very good follow-up book if you have already read that one. This book is written as a story with integrated prepper “how too” instructions.

From more points of view than can be detailed here, it is becoming increasingly evident that the collapse Rawles foresees is only a matter of time. In fact, it often seems to me as if humans and nature are in a race to see which will do us in and under first.

Who is Rawles to say? From his bio:

James Wesley Rawles is a internationally recognized authority on family disaster preparedness and survivalism. He has been described by journalists as the “conscience of survivalism.” Formerly a U.S. Army intelligence officer, Rawles is now a fiction and nonfiction author, as well as a rancher. His books have been translated into seven languages. He is also a lecturer and the founder and Senior Editor of http://www.SurvivalBlog.com, the Internet’s first blog on preparedness that has enjoyed perennial popularity and now receives more than 320,000 unique visits per week.

Interspersing JBP videos with visits to this website might be an effective way to fortify self-improvement goals. Gathering practical survival information, “real,” survival-related news and other interesting tidbits could make a significant contribution towards future positive outcomes. Today’s quote, for example is, Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophesies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.” Eric Hoffer.

Surely unknown opportunities are embedded within inevitable disasters that loom ahead. However, things are sure to go better for those who proactively prepare to meet them. This includes building viable support systems.

The model of intentional communities I now have in mind is similar to the rural one upon which my alma mater, Oberlin College, was built. Its motto is “Learning and Labor.”

For urban centers are quickly becoming death traps. If and/or when the grid goes down, it may be too late to escape. Better to get out while it is still an option. (Gives new meaning to “safe place.”) Inland locations, not too close to military bases or downwind from nuclear facilities, are preferable. Further, rural settings provide the opportunity to tune in again to nature, restoring harmony with rhythmic cycles which our forefathers took for granted.

Intentional preppers, regardless of their personal beliefs, are dedicated to restoring practical survival skills: learning how to live outdoors and off grid, work with tools to construct basic housing, farm, raise livestock, preserve food, feed and protect their families.

There’s lots of to be relearned by those willing to work in the process of sorting out their personal lives. This is a relatively gentle, voluntary way to make a fresh start, one person at a time.

book header bird

Interestingly, from the Taoist canon which Dr. Peterson greatly respects, Numbers 18 of both Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching and its ancient great-great-grandfather, the I Ching, both speak the point in repeating cycles of time where – out of the ashes of corruption — new beginnings emerge. For it’s not only humans who crash and burn to be reborn, On larger scales of magnitude, entire communities and civilizations do as well.

Passage 18 from Two Sides of a Coin reads:

18

Hexagram 18 from The Common Sense Book of Change describes a positive approach to encroaching chaos:

18 IC FRESH START.jpg

Our collective future depends upon the quality of individual choices. Is it worth going through the testing fires of positive change to get from here to there? The choice is yours. But be aware. Failing to choose is also a choice, one with dire consequences. In any case, the time is NOW.

Jordan Peterson is doing his heroic best to tip the scales of history in favor of human survival. Clearly, he dearly hopes the young men he grieves for will choose wisely. As do I.

For those with ears, let them hear. And do.

Angel Calling

 

Coming next:

  • Yes, AND . . . .
  • The Heart Doesn’t Lie
  • Be an Instrument of Light

 

 

It’s Hard

I identify with Jack Kornfield‘s stories about the hard work between leaving everything behind and coming to a bit of self-knowledge and calm. In the 1960s, walking away from an unhappy childhood in a troubled American society, he sought out Asian teachers via the Peace Corps and apprenticed himself to Buddhist masters.

However, a warning maxim sums up what he quickly learned: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

When Kornfield – a senior founder of the mindfulness movement – sat in a far away jungle monastery practicing meditation, he didn’t experience bliss. Instead, what came forward was a powerful mix of painful emotions – buried disappointment, fear, rage, and hatred – triggered by memories of an abusive father which he’d failed to heal earlier.

His experience confirms another cautionary maxim. As I was warned early on, best not expect quick results from introspection. “It’s hard to remember you’re here to clean out the swamp when you’re up to your ass in alligators.”

alligators

I wrote about my own personal challenges in Rethinking Survival:

Rethinking Survival is a hybrid. It’s part memoir. But far deeper, it’s the stuff of a paradigm shift. It voices the aspirations which everyone shares in common. But it also fingers the false assumptions that too often tie us in paralyzing knots. 

Inevitably, shadow issues to face were embedded within the wonderful opportunities I’ve been granted.

Each opportunity that presented itself contained within it an opposite and equal challenge to divest myself of limiting myths and misconceptions. Yogis compare the process to peeling away the layers of an onion. The Taoist I Ching scholar translated by Thomas Cleary described it as stripping away artificial veneers of cultural conditioning to restore the original True Self. Another source likens the process to the Herculean task of cleaning out the Aegean horse stables.

Further:

The same friend who told me about neatsies also reminded me about R.D. Laing’s Knots.2 Undetected assumptions wrapped in twisted logic can tie people in knots. They act like a life-draining cancer. False beliefs can drive people crazy, even to acts of criminal violence. We agreed about the dangers of living a lie, as if there were no options. This is how individuals (then dysfunctional families and nations) self-destruct.

One benefit of respecting the wisdom to be found in ancient cultures is this: Those who lived simply, close to nature, remind us of timeless truths which we as complicated urban dwellers have forgotten. Asians seeped for thousands of years in the I Ching understood much that harried moderns dearly need to recover.

For example, Confucius understood the primary importance of personal responsibility:

Confucius

Though stated in reverse order in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze also held that the world is necessarily changed one person at a time, and from the inside out:

18

With this in mind, I had mixed emotions about the recent American election. In Clarion Call I wrote:

Perhaps deeper than the President-Elect consciously knows (or even needs to), his words ring true across the full continuum of the Life Wheel. BUT: here is the danger . . .

Many people, due to a host of unfortunate circumstances, live primarily on the shallow surface of the Life Wheel. They haven’t the depth to recognize or respect what,  for whatever reason, they’ve forgotten. Worse, some, unintentionally or otherwise, live at odds with inner truth. They will continue to spin, distort and attempt to delegitimize DJT’s victory . . .

They will definitely stir up unnecessary conflict to destabilize the world, as if to prevent his best intentions from coming True.

Today, looking back with the advantage of hindsight, I shake my head. What a noble but sadly mistaken approach, to focus on ending corruption on a national scale, while individual hearts, families, communities and states are, for the most part, alligator-infested swamps.

Current events reinforce earlier my conclusion:

Changing the world, especially in dangerous times, is an overwhelming prospect. It’s also unnecessary. No matter how much is going wrong “out there,” the manageable unit that’s one’s first responsibility to change is the one closest to home: oneself.

Our best hope is, still yet, to think small. Begin with one’s self.

Yes, taming one’s inner alligators is hard work. Very hard. But it’s infinitely worth it.

climbing alligator

 

 

 

Keep It Together

star of david

Although it seems there’s no longer much more to be said, yesterday’s Aha moment is an exception.

Here’s the back story.

Over Thanksgiving week-end, for the benefit of those who hadn’t seen The Walking Dead series, we spent several hours here watching back-to-back episodes of the first two seasons.

For me, this second go round had an even greater impact. The content speaks on many levels, in many ways, to our increasingly dangerous times.

Like life itself, the series is a complex counterpoint of relationship drama, political intrigue, philosophical ponderings and soul searchings. It’s intense: not for the weak of stomach or for lovers of sentimental fluff.

Beyond the surface story line, however, it is poignantly symbolic. Perhaps in a very deep way, it’s prophetic. Which explains why a simple pilot unexpectedly took off to become a sensational success. For those with ears to hear, it resonates straight to our very core.

How, you might ask, does a story about a world overrun by hoards of cannibalistic zombies apply to current events and leadership issues?

Well, let’s see.

In The Walking Dead, zombies are mindless corpses that carry on after humans die. All but the primal, limbic functions of the human brain have been disease-destroyed.

When you think about it, it’s not such a far cry from the end result being achieved (perhaps intentionally, perhaps not) by manipulating humans (programming them in the name of education) based on brain science.

Neuro-marketing, for example, stimulates the same vestigial, animal part of the brain that drives zombiesintentionally bypassing rational cognitive functions involved in critical thinking and rational decision-making.

An academic website defines neuro marketing as : the formal study of the brain’s responses to advertising and branding, and the adjustment of those messages based on feedback to elicit even better responses. Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure specific types of brain activity in response to advertising messages. With this information, companies learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what parts of the brain are motivating them to do so.

It increasingly seems as if walking dead hoards include not only fictional zombies, but average consumers and citizens — even the college professors, marketing professionals and politicians who direct their communications to these same animal brain functions.

Economists and politicians have jumped on the marketing bandwagon, exploiting brain science. Earlier, I expressed strong reservations about the ethics and consequences of applying brain science research to marketing and policy making.

Intentionally targeting instinctual, animal functions of the brain with subliminal messages represents an intentional effort to control and dehumanize the general population. The results could be scary indeed.

In a LinkedIn article that points out serious problems with Thinking, fast and slow, Kahneman’s book on behavioral economics, I concluded:

To continue sleep-walking on the shallow surface of life as most of us do now plays into the hands of madmen and tyrants, some of whom, if it seemed to further their ambitions, would have no compunction whatsoever about plunging the entire world into nuclear war.

But back to The Walking Dead. As a commentary on leadership options in this scary new world, it triggered my Aha on the importance of “keeping it together” as a devolving world militates to tear us apart. The answer I came up with is part mystical, part medical for those with the training and diligence to practice yogic breathing and concentration methods.

The primary questions this series challenges us to think about are, “Who is going to survive in such a chaotic future, How, and Why?”

The protagonist, Rick represents the voice of reason. His words and actions show him to be more evolved than most. He’s a “natural leader,” if you will. This former sheriff’s deputy knows weapons and can handle himself in a fight. But in balance, he is also a “righteous dude.”

Rick earns farm-owner Hershel’s respect by showing him respect.

Hershel – a religious optimist who chooses to deny the existence of danger closing in on all sides – wakes up the hard way, losing all he owns in the process. He’s highly evolved, but out of balance. The practical street smarts were too late coming. At least in the beginning, he was extreme yin, out of balance.

And then there’s the opposite side of the coin. Shane. His exudes extreme yang energy. This treacherous shake in the grass, ruled by animal appetites, rationalizes his lusts and takes whatever he wants however he can.

Shane dogs Rick’s every step, working to undermine him, scheming to take everything – Rick’s wife, son, and leadership role in their small community. Shane operates from the solar center, with little heart awareness and no functional conscience. He has no concept (much less respect) for higher levels of consciousness. Mercy is outside his range of awareness. To Shane, Rick and Hershel seem weak.

Shane seduces whomever he can with the argument that, civilization being destroyed, he is the wave of the future. Only he is qualified to protect the group. But, depending on the rest of us, that vision remains to be seen.

How to deal with the Shanes of the ugly new world? I’m reminded of Lao Tze 41:

120115 2 Sides 41

In thinking about what combination of leadership qualities will succeed in steering small communities through both the internal and external dangers they will face if/when “civilization” breaks down, I was amazed at how skillfully the leaders in The Walking Dead adjust to change. Like the ancients, they keep their balance by adjusting to the fluctuating demands of a dualistic world.

For in duality, as Solomon wrote:

120115 ecclesiastes

In the future, those in small communities who persist in old ways of thinking, clinging to one extreme or the other, either rational or animal, rigidly ignoring the complex demands of an altered, endangered new world, risk forgetting Henry David Thoreau’s warning: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds.”

Certainly Christ knew this. He taught, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Yet his was not an example of foolish sentimental permissive “tolerant” love. Certainly he had no use for the money changers and demonstrated fierce anger towards hypocrites.

It was at this point in my thinking that the Aha happened. The Star of David, traditionally worn over the heart, is the perfect symbol of balancing the polar qualities future leaders will need to keep civilization from devolving into the exclusively animal realms of a zombie-like existence.

This Star is housed in the “secret place of the Most High” described in Psalm 91. It is associated with the heart center located in the middle Dan Tien. It is the seat of compassion, the place where the upper Tan Tien’s mental light and lower Tan Tien’s solar fire join, blend and balance.

This joining is mirrored in the meaning of Ha-tha (sun & moon) yoga = union.

This six-pointed Star is formed by the intersection of two equilateral triangles. According to Chinese medical notation, the upward pointing triangle represents the quality of yang energies. The downward pointing triangle represents yin.

It is no accident that equilateral triangles are the strongest, most stable of geometric structures. Those who internalize and actualize these realities have the practical means to keep themselves and their communities together.

In the Hindu tradition, the Sri Yantra is similarly constructed of nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate outwards from a central point.

Sri Yantra

These variations are each based on the same subtle geometry. They express the same inner experience of a central, underlying reality.

To repeat, while on one hand, the universal secret of these interlocking triangles is a profound mystery, on the other, for those familiar with yogic breathing and concentration methods, they are the foundation of practical disciplines with physical, mental and spiritual results.

Given time to refine what is written here, the ideas could be better expressed. But the substance remains as a Christmas gift offered to those prepared to receive it as such.

Arguing and nit-picking would miss the point. The better choice is to bring your own understanding to an urgently important subject and make it your own. It is a key to not only personal survival, but the hope for a better future.

 

Hidden Giants

According to the world-loved Tao Te Ching, when the times reach critical mass, leaders arise in response to the deep-felt heart-cries of the suffering masses for deliverance.

This assurance is repeated twice, first in Passage 18. “When countries degenerate into strife, anarchy sets in. / When danger peaks, however, heroes emerge and come forward.”

It appears again in Passage 78. “Like water, the sage takes the world’s suffering to heart, endures its hardships, / and responsive to the times, becomes the catalyst of collective action.

This is the underlying thought in the following rethinking of the David and Goliath scenario. The upcoming anthology, The BEST of WEST will include this excerpt from Rethinking Survival. It’s taken from the section called “We’re Never Alone: Gladwell’s Misfits and Giants in Perspective.”

globe

When Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath came out in October of 2013, I had to read it. The subject promised to be a perfect fit with the vision of Rethinking. After all, King David is my ideal: musician, psalmist, warrior and king in one.

It turns out this book is a perfect example of how sorely the Positive Paradigm of Change is needed. “We need a better guide for facing giants,” Gladwell wrote. I agree. Here it is.

As far as it goes, the book is a good read. What’s lacking is the Positive Paradigm to put David and Goliath in context. From this viewpoint, Goliath was stuck on the surface. Despite his physical size, he was ultimately powerless. David, on the other hand, was connected to center. That gave him the advantage.

Using this Einstein-inspired model of concentric circles linked in an infinite, two-directional loop, we can place the source of David’s strength as well as his strategies and his deadly slingshot.

Resting in the innermost hub of the Life Wheel associated with light was the source of little David’s confidence — the timeless God of Israel.

His strategies, however, belonged to the middle, dynamic level associated with energy.

His prowess as a straight-shooter depended on physical strength, visual acuity and years of experience. Those have their place on the outermost material surface associated with mass.

In other words, the levels of David’s life were coordinated. They were in synch. Unified.

If David had drawn a blank on any one of the three levels, he wouldn’t have succeed then. Nor can anyone succeed today. Vision that’s not backed by a good plan and technical competence is incomplete. Cunning strategies lacking equal competence to execute them are lop-sided. Without a direct connection with the creative center, all the physical resources in the world aren’t enough.

There are several reasons, however, why the story of David and Goliath isn’t the best model for coping with adversity today. For one, we’re at a very different point in history. This is end stage. Civilization was relatively young back then. Different times call for different responses.

Further, confronting a single foe face-to-face was one matter. The tangled mess of corporate-faced, alien-driven evil which little guys are up against now is a much different threat. Different dangers call for different protections.

Another point: Gladwell’s subtitle refers to underdogs and misfits. It’s not a good idea to romanticize misfits. Not all are creative geniuses. Timothy McVey and Charles Manson were also misfits. They too didn’t fit in with mainstream society, but with good cause.

It’s the telescoping mistake. Extremes on both sides of the bell-shaped median are lumped together and written off as “deviant.” But spiritual geniuses and murderous psychopaths don’t belong in the same category.

Further, not all giants are enemies of the people. There are corporate CEOs who treat their workers decently and genuinely serve the public. When I searched my memory banks for a good example, I thought back to Glenn Beck’s billionaire philanthropist friend. What was his name?!

It took me a couple days to find it. Strangely, he doesn’t get much media attention. (Why not is an interesting question!)

But Jon Huntsman, Sr. is living proof. A corporate giant can be as much a part of the solution as the underdogs. Sometimes even more.

A web search comes up with several sides to his story. He gained his wealth by climbing the corporate ladder of success. In 1974, Huntsman Container Corporation created the “clamshell” container for the McDonald’s Big Mac. It developed other popular products, including the first plastic plates and bowls. This led to the 1994 founding of the multi-billion dollar Huntsman Corporation. He continues to expand into new business ventures.

As a philanthropist, Huntsman has given away more than $1.2 billion to both domestic and international charities. His humanitarian aid includes help to the homeless, ill and under-privileged. He holds that the very rich should give not half, as Gates and Buffet say, but a full 80 percent of their wealth to worthy causes. It should be through voluntary choice, however. Not taxation. In this, he agrees with Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

His goal is to give away everything before he dies. But this isn’t an easy task. He keeps making too much money.

On the personal side, Huntsman not only lost parents to cancer, but is himself a four-time cancer survivor. His response has been to turn adversity into opposite and equal good. The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City accelerates the work of curing cancer through human genetics. It also focuses on providing humane care to cancer patients.

Huntsman has been married to his wife Karen for over fifty years. He’s the father of nine children. The eldest son, Jon Jr. is a public servant. He was the governor of Utah, and later an ambassador to China. (Small world.) The second son is a corporate executive who carries on his father’s business.

Come to find out, Jon Huntsman. Sr. is also an author. One of his books is Winners Never Cheat – Even in Difficult Times. Amazon’s editorial review calls him “one of the finest human beings, industrial leaders and philanthropists on the planet.” His book drills down on “ten timeless, universal values” for business and life. The review concludes that Huntsman’s work edifies, inspires and motivates all of us to model his common sense lessons.

Timeless? Universal? Common sense? I like it!

Moving on, Gladwell also says little guys need to redefine power. I’ve done that too. In Positive Paradigm context, true power comes from within. Goliath, who drew strength primarily from the physical plane, was puny compared to the force behind David’s sling.

Gladwell notes that a single smooth stone to center of Goliath’s head probably destroyed the pituitary gland. He quotes researchers who theorize that the giant had a glandular disorder which explains his huge size. This same pituitary disease would have caused eye problems. That’s probably why a slave had to lead him into battle. Presumably his vision was failing.

But from a holistic perspective, the same story has a deeper meaning. David’s single shot went straight to the third eye, the ajna center located in the center of the forehead. It correlates with the pineal gland, a close neighbor of the pituitary. In yoga anatomy, this center is associated with spiritual vision.

David’s projectile put out the giant’s lights. It was poetic justice for an enemy who was closed to inner truth. That was the giant’s weakness. It remains the weakness of bad guys today as well. A single shot is all it takes, when you know where to aim.

Here’s yet another point. David and Goliath has one take on the giants of the world. But there’s also another way to think about giants. The reverse, shadow side – the opposite side of the coin. Early on, for example, I was inspired by Awaken the Giant Within. I founded the +A Positive Action Press in response to Tony Robbins’ book. From a Positive Paradigm perspective, his words take on new meaning:

If we want to discover the unlimited possibilities within us, we must find a goal big enough and grand enough to challenge us to push beyond our limits and discover our true potential. . . The answer to our current energy challenges will lie in the imagination and resourcefulness of today’s physicists and engineers. And the resolution to our social crises, like the alarming spread of racial hate groups, homelessness, and hunger, can only be addressed with the inventiveness and compassion of dedicated individuals like you and me.

The threat of evil giants in the world serves to awaken the true giant that resides deep within each of us. That’s the blessing hidden in adversity. It’s the opportunity latent in Titanic Times. The Greek Titans, the giants sired by Kronos, survived his murderous envy and returned to claim their heritage.

Similarly, as Lao Tze assures us, there are surely sleeping giants are among us now.

It’s time for them to WAKE UP!

Are you a sleeping giant? Do you work or live with one? What will it take for you (or them) to wake up?

Contemplation of Mortality

Overnight, I received an email from LinkedIn connection Katherine Morris, who’s currently living in Switzerland.

She wrote, “I just read your last 3 posts on linkedin, and just want to say that I find you to be a very refreshing, very honest writer. I would even say that this is pretty scary to a lot of people. The idea of being able to be honest and not be destroyed, this is quite an accomplishment in modern civilization!”

Katherine added that she’s working on her dissertation right now . . . “very busy writing a review of the scientific and other literature on the topic of contemplation of mortality.”

WOW! Now that’s a subject many find really scary. Reminded me of the Essay on Death included in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

So Katherine, this post is for you. Hope it’s helpful.

globe

2. DEATH

Merging with the eternal source,

sages travel safely through life

and survive intact

to begin anew,

unchanged by physical death.

  Patricia West, Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tse’s Common Sense Way of Change. #16

—————

Dying patients went through the five stages, but then after “we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly,” and . . . well, then a person had the greatest experience of his life.

— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life

—————

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

— Richard Bach, Illusions

—————

Some day, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit; for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust.

— Erik Erikson, quoted by Jonathan Kozol in Death at an Early Age

THE FRONT

Webster’s definition of death is the act or fact of dying — the permanent ending of all life in a person, animal or plant. Personified, death is pictured as the grim reaper, a hunch-backed, black-robed skeleton wielding a scythe. The term refers to extinction, as in the death of hope.

These definitions, however, represent an extreme cultural bias with important effects on behavior. They reflect the materialistic belief that the physical is all there is. When the body fails, there is nothing else. There is no essence which survives to travel on.

The I Ching embodies a more inclusive, comprehensive view. Like the learned amongst most ancient cultures, Chinese sages regarded birth and death as natural changes, complementary stages of an ongoing cyclical life process.

Sages continue to regard death not as extinction, but the culmination of a winter season most wisely spent preparing for the coming spring. They teach that a soul, having learned the lessons and completed the work of one life cycle, separates from its used up shell. The shell, once the spirit moves on, collapses. The life essence, however, simply migrates, possibly to take on another form.

Meditation practices are instrumental in reconnecting the alienated rational mind with the life principle, restoring trust. They prepare advanced souls to depart the physical form consciously at the auspicious time of their choosing. They also induce the changes of heart and mind that the Bible alludes to as rebirth. To be born again is not necessarily emotional self-deception. Technically, from I Ching perspective, it’s very possible.

As described by healer/teacher/author Barbara Ann Brennan, total transformation and rebirth can also take place within the same body. She describes spending two years in prayer and intense discipline. As a result of her efforts, by the end of that time, every aspect of her life had changed for the better. Going through stages similar to those described by Kübler-Ross, she released her old life, so that new attitudes, better relationships, and a significantly more satisfying lifestyle replaced that which had been outgrown and put away.

Country music star Naomi Judd, another example, refused to accept a death sentence placed on her by the medical establishment. Instead, she took it as a blessing in disguise. Taking responsibility for her health, with a combination of faith and true grit, she educated herself in a broad spectrum of healing arts traditions and succeeded in regenerating herself from the inside out. She not only survived, but became healthy enough to endure the ardors of another music tour, “The Power to Change,” calling on fans to rise to the challenge of change as she had.

butterfly

THE BACK

Fear is the natural outcome of limited materialistic beliefs equating the end of physical life with total extinction. Those who experience the True Self as immortal and indestructible are not plagued by fear of mortality. No doubt the courage and solace which sustained Socrates as he calmly accepted his death sentence — not as an escape, but an affirmation of principle — came from the depth of his soul awareness.

Permanent extinction, however, is possible. Real death is not dissolution of a temporary form, but the annihilation of the soul itself. According to learned traditions, a soul beyond redemption by its own repeated wrong choices can be extinguished forever. Even the thought is cause for horror, powerful incentive to make right choices.

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West, Patricia .E., Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tse’s Common Sense Way of Change. # 16. (+A Positive Action Press: Madison, WI, 2004).

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying. (Touchstone: New York, 1997.) p. 189.

Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. (Dell: New York, 1977.) p. 159.

Erik Erikson, quoted by Jonathan Kozol in Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. (Plume: New York, 1967.) front page.

Use the Wheel as a Linguistic Tool

According to AXIOM SIX, “Used as a Linguistic Tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel Promotes Clear, Accurate and Effective Communication.”

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

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

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

Here is one example of how the single word “discrimination” changes meanings depending on where in the Wheel it’s used.

Discrimination.sized

Another example is the word “positive.” Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.

At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution.

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

The Tower of Babel Factor

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

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

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

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

“Leadership” and the related concept of “power” are two words whose meanings require careful attention. They shift depending on the level that they’re associated with. “Power” is a word often associated with “lust” and “abuse.” But it’s also a key component of “democracy” defined as “power to the people.”

At the center of the Wheel, all-powerful is an attribute assigned to God the Creator. Omnipotent. At the middle level, power is associated with energy. High-energy people are said to be magnetic. Attractive. Sexually potent. Forceful. Vigorous.

Socially, towards the surface, powerful people are influential. Effective. They tend to dominate others and control material resources, whether formally (institutional authority) or informally (behind the scenes).

Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, translated as The Way and Its Power, hints at the possibility of linking the levels of power. Failing to do so results in dangerous either-ors. For example, a leader whose power depends on controlling material resources, but who has neither compassion for others nor a viable connection with the center, is likely to rule as a tyrant, bringing poverty and misery to unwilling subjects.

A leader who holds the power of middle level charisma over followers may dazzle. However, cult leaders whose connection to the center is unstable (claims to the contrary notwithstanding), can seduce, but not truly lead from darkness to light.

Those whose connection to the center is secure, but whose grounding in the practical skills of day-to-day governance is tenuous, are also incomplete and undependable as leaders. Regardless of how inspired or well-intentioned, they may be forced to rely on staff who are less than loyal or honest, and find themselves undone because of misplaced trust.

Ideally, the true leader links the levels, balancing enlightened vision with compassion, charisma and practical administrative abilities. Plato recommended the total leadership of a philosopher-king, and training aspirants to be equally competent on all levels of the Wheel, able to integrate and balance them.

It’s especially important to define another pair of complimentary words. “Virtuous” and “moral” are often used interchangeably, with misleading results. Technically, “virtue” is an energy concept best used in the context of the middle level of the Wheel. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), compassion is a composite of complimentary virtues that includes empathy, courage, kindness, calmness, gentleness, and joy.

Each of the virtues is associated with a specific internal organ. When circulation is unobstructed and the internal energies are full and balanced, the mind is clear and virtues are present. When the circulation is blocked or stagnant, in excess or deficient, negative energy expressions present themselves as toxic emotions: anger, fear, cruelty, hate, anxiety, and grief.

Virtues are natural and inherent. They’re common to everyone, everywhere. The potential for positive expression of the virtues is primarily a function of good health, meaning, in Positive Paradigm context, unified wholeness. Conversely, the opposite, negative expressions (vices) are the result of poor health. Appropriate responses for healing them rest with medical interventions, not judgmental social sanctions.

In contrast, morality is a social construct, a relatively superficial layer of cultural conditioning that may or may not be compatible with the expression of deeper, inherent natural energies. Moral codes vary from place to place, and shift over time. Codes of conduct in subcultures, from medical and religious to military and underground gangs, are uniquely context-specific.

Some would say that moral codes are useful, even necessary for maintaining order within a social unit. However, when they’re enforced with harsh sanctions, including an unwholesome admix of self-interest, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy, they’re at best a mixed blessing.

It’s possible to be moral without being virtuous, and vice versa. It’s instructive to ask, How moral are we, and by what standard(s) of conduct? What about our leaders? If there’s a disconnect between virtue and morality, what are the consequences? What’s to be done about it, by whom?

globe

Corollary A. Using the Positive Paradigm model as a standard, the current worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits can be explained and (with good will and training) corrected.

Corollary B: In Positive Paradigm context, “good” and “evil” (as well as “friend” and “mortal enemy”) are defined in terms of those who honor versus those who violate or even intentionally tear the universal pattern of life apart. By this standard, those of good will in every land are friends of truth, while evil doers, whether at home or abroad, are the common enemies of humanity.

Corollary C: Politicians who would set nations against each other and who flirt with nuclear holocaust for the sake of petty ego satisfaction and personal power are evil-doers. Even when they cloak evil actions in moral terms, their rationalizations are a danger to us all. The ultimate good requires unmasking their double speak and rescuing the language in the interests of human survival.

Corollary D: Just as the basic genetic structure of all mankind stems from a few original strands of DNA, universal ideas and archetypes are inborn and inherent to our psyches. They’re not restricted by political or national boundaries.

The basic axioms of the archetypal Positive Paradigm pattern and its use as a clarifying linguistic tool offer a foundation upon which to build upon a common sense discourse, reestablishing the universal basics common to everyone, everywhere.

Corollary E: The Wheel gives us a model for redefining love, authority, science, crime, stress, and a host of other key concepts whose meanings are con-fused (lumped together inappropriately), making it difficult to communicate. The 64 Essays on Change in Conscience are a start in this direction.

Corollary F: The chief strategy of the “alien invaders” described in Rethinking Survival is to paralyze the populace by polluting the language and corrupting the paradigms. They prevent people from recognizing the difference between true friends and enemies, between true dangers and boondoggle distractions.

Restoring the Positive Paradigm to general use now is a powerful way to undo this damage, forge better alliances, and prepare to meet whatever dangers are to come.

globe

Human Survival Cannot Be Taken for Granted

Utopia.sized

AXIOM FIVE of the Positive Paradigm states, “History Is Neither Progressive or Linear, Nor can Human Survival Be Taken for Granted.”

This concept runs deeply against the grain of progressive beliefs. It’s so apparently threatening to even consider that many are unwilling and/or unable to wrap their minds around these basic facts. However, denial doesn’t change what IS. It only leaves the fearful unprepared – unable to make the in-formed, correct decisions necessary to meet and survive immanent dangers.

The dangers are no surprise. Einstein warned, “We will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” In answer to his call, the methods included in the Handbook embody that substantially new manner.

Survivalists have warned of a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). Some say it’s already under way. We’re already in its midst. Others speak of a catastrophic “deep well die off.”

Be that as it may, in Positive Paradigm context, some things never change. Others do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is a matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, author of the world-loved Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power), knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles.

Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, not with an eye to human survival, but only to capture markets, maximize corporate profits and beat out the competition.

These various texts all draw on the wisdom encoded in the Chinese I Ching, the venerable Book of Change to steer the decision-making process. They rely on applications of the laws of subtle change to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used either as a protective, self-defense measure or as a means for taking advantage of the less informed.

Those who love life and take human survival to heart have passed on the basics of how the world really works to those with ears to hear. In contrast, others hoard this knowledge as if to prosper themselves at others’ expense. They deny or even ridicule it, keeping perceived enemies “in the dark” to prevent their success.

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. The fact that the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, today some still continue to think of history as a flat, perpetually forward-moving straight line. But they are as sadly mistaken as were the ancient seafarers who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat.

In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

compass clock

Hegel and Marx had a partially correct, but disastrously hollow view of historical change. They pictured it as a rectangular-shaped grandfather clock with a pendulum that swings back and forth, repeatedly moving right and then left of center.

Their concept of a dialectic prescribed an eventual synthesis of both sides in an upwardly moving, progressive direction. The partial truth in this model is obscured by its inaccuracies and politically destructive applications.

It’s important to note that the interrelated, interconnected fabric of life pictured by the Positive Paradigm Wheel isn’t limited to this particular planet or even one solar system. As a universal model, it literally has applications to how the universe, or even multiple universes, work as well. This possibility is not completely foreign to our human history.

For example, the Anastazi, a highly sophisticated culture of eco-savvy cave dwellers located in Mesa Verdi, Colorado, thrived and then mysteriously disappeared. Like the Inca civilization located in Peru, and ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids, their detailed and accurate understanding of astronomy led archaeologists to conclude that they came from, were in correspondence with, and might eventually have returned to destinations far beyond Earth.

Just as humans continue to navigate their ships in the waters of Earth’s oceans, there may have been — and may again be — times when star travelers operate on paradigms that allow them to travel the oceans of distant space. The wheel-shaped Star Gates of the science fiction series by the same name are suggestive of imagined (or carefully kept) secrets.

In sum, there’s far more to human origins and history than people dream of. Science fiction teases us to think outside the limited historical paradigm. There’s truth in supposed “fiction” that would enrich our possible futures if we use it to expand our knowledge paradigm to match the facts of what has been and could yet still be.

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Corollary A: The seasonal, cyclical model of history applies equally to personal lives and the dynamics of organizational and even dynasty life-spans. Knowing the current time, as well as the direction in which its going, is important information to be taken into account in any decision-making process.

Corollary B: Just as the hour hand returns to its beginning point and then continues on to start the next hour, our lives do not end with one span, but continue on. This accords with metaphysical and religious views on reincarnation and immortality. These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. Reincarnation occurs on the surface of life’s wheel, while immortality resides at its center.

Corollary C: Facing the prospect of human extinction may be threatening. But refusing to consider and act on the possibility doesn’t make the danger go away. It renders us unprepared to meet and mitigate danger, preventing the possibility of re-charting the course of history for the optimal use of available options.

Keeping the subjects of magic and space exploration secret, relegating them to the genres of so-called fantasy and science fiction is form of denial. It limits our options for meeting whatever is to come fully and optimally prepared.

When life transitions are anticipated and wisely prepared for, they can be faced without fear and navigated successfully. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ research on death and dying has equally useful applications to both individual experience and the history of civilizations.

Corollary D: Nothing on Earth lasts forever. Accomplishments in the fields of science, humanism and spiritual enlightenment cannot be taken for granted. In Positive Paradigm context, the creative source resides eternal at the center. While there’s evolution on the outward path, there’s also the opposite and equal potential for devolution on the return path. This includes not only physical dis-integration, but also corruption. This leaves savvy leaders with important choices to make, for themselves as well as the followers who depend on them.

Corollary E: An apparent death sentence makes time remaining all the more precious. In biblical terms, awareness of impending disaster is motive and opportunity to repent (meaning to change one’s heart and ways), and to atone (meaning to realign with the center), using the gift of whatever time is left gratefully, wisely and well.

Some will actually defy medical/historical prognosis and survive to carry on, whether it be here, in other dimensions or even different universes. (Science fiction fans of TV’s two-hearted, regenerating time traveler Dr. Who are well-acquainted with these possibilities.)

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Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow

We’ve all familiar with the phrase, “Go with the flow.” It’s another way of saying, “Timing is everything.” But how does it apply to the leader selection process? That’s the final, forth factor Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors invited me to comment on. Earlier, he wrote:

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When I look at events, I see four major forces: circumstances, flow, people and leader. From my perspective, you wrote about the last two. [See “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8W and “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.] I’m asking about the first two.

The third factor has already been covered in a responsive blog. [See “Do Circumstances Influence Leader Selection?” wp.me/p46Y5Z-be.] That leaves the fourth major force influencing leader selection – flow.

Though I often describe flow as timing, my view is more from the I Ching on this. So, my question to you is this: Would being at different points in the I Ching cycle produce different leaders?

To summarize, I often ask people this question: If everyone suddenly awoke not knowing who they were and not remembering how they came to be where they are (if we could reset life), would the same leaders arise that we have now?

In fact, the Book of Change was traditionally consulted as a method of telling time. According to Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide:

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. . . the I Ching works like a cosmic clock, telling us the time. In the Old Testament, King Solomon expressed the natural, rhythmic alternations of time in poetic form: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

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The Book of Change puts its users in touch with these pulsating, alternating rhythms of life. It connects them with inner knowing – call it intuition or conscience – that anticipates approaching changes, the better to prepare for what is to come.

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The Common Sense Book of Change explains it this way:

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This text is called the Book of Change because its readings sum up the natural laws of change. They reflect stages through which daily events evolve in predictable cyclical patterns.

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These patterns can be drawn on any scale from smallest to largest. For example, they might express the seconds which add up to a minute, or the minutes which complete an hour on the face of the clock.

compass clock

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What most leaders fail to take into account, however, is that the different hands of this cosmic clock return to the twelve o’clock alpha-omega compass point of True North at different rates of speed. By analogy, successful leaders have an overview of the complex point in time where their organizations currently stand, as well as the ultimate direction in which they’re headed.

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Unfortunately, short-sighted leaders see only the second- or, at best, the minute-hand of the clock, mistakenly assuming they see the whole picture. They remain sadly unaware of the larger context, oblivious to the long-term hour.

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For example, the fast-moving second-hand of the cosmic clock may point due North towards the zenith point of twelve o’clock and the intermediate-speed minute-hand point to 12:15. All the while, unobserved, the slowest-moving hour-hand may point towards the nadir, due South at six o’clock.

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Short-sighted leaders miscalculate. Their timing is dangerously off. For example, when they act as if prosperity is never-ending (or else just around the corner) when in fact a depression of unprecedented proportions is looming ahead like an “unforeseen” iceberg, they’re unwittingly leading unprepared followers into a disaster of Titanic proportion.

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To continue with Plato’s earlier “leader as charioteer” image, successful executives must be capable of harnessing the opposite forces of expansion and contraction, the yin-yang pair of white and black horses. If these energies are not reined in and balanced, they can tear whole nations apart, steering them off-course into self-destruction, either consumed by the sun or else smashed to smithereens below. [See “Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-aR.]

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Those versed in the dynamics of I Ching yin-yang opposites know that each extreme generates its polar opposite. For example, extreme inflation inevitably triggers an opposite and equal extreme of deflation. Extremes of extravagant waste on the part of a few predictably lead to wide-spread deprivation and misery for the many.

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But how do the basics of flow apply to leader selection today? As discussed earlier, it depends on who the selectors are. For example, in biblical times, when the Egyptian Pharaoh had disturbing warning dreams which he couldn’t fathom, he had the humility (prudence) to seek out those wiser in such matters. He took the advice of a cup-bearer, formerly a prisoner, whose release and good fortune was foretold by an unjustly incarcerated fellow prisoner named Joseph.

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Joseph not only recognized the meaning of the Pharaoh’s warning dreams, but proved to be a skillful administrator. During the sunny cyclical time of prosperity, he advised on how best to meet the approaching shadow cycle of downturn with its specter of drought, famine and starvation. Given the responsibility to oversee collection of grain during times of plenty, he steered his people towards survival. (Joseph was what in modern parlance is called a “prepper.”)

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Unfortunately, most leader selectors have less humility. When they have bad dreams, they’re less likely to seek out the modern day equivalent of a Joseph to reap the benefits of inner signals. [See “Therapists as Agents of Positive Change,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-bA.]

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Disregarding disturbing signals coming from every direction, they’re more likely to listen to feel-good gurus who get rich by telling them whatever they want to hear. “Everything will be okay. Be Happy. Don’t Worry.”

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Unfortunately, repeating positive mantras can’t alter the patterned flow of events. As irresponsible leaders across the globe continue to lead their followers into war, playing political chess from their plush, comfortable offices, eating, drinking and making merry at others’ expense, the Titanic ship of Planet Earth continues on its fateful collision course towards disaster.

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In fact, as Old Avatar warns, at this late date in the flow of time, we’re not only approaching a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). We’re already in its midst. The extreme outcome will surpass even the dangers foreseen by Plato or dreamed of by Pharaoh — more along the lines of the four-horsed apocalypse of biblical prophecy.

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Today’s savvy and responsible leaders — those with the prudent humility of a Pharaoh to recognize that they aren’t equipped to analyze warnings and prepare to survive approaching dangers — would do well to seek out and select those wiser than themselves and heed their prepper advice. The survival of their beloved children and grandchildren (which, as Einstein warned us, can no longer be taken for granted) hangs in the balance.

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Mike asked, hypothetically, If we could reset the clock to the zero hour and make a clean start, would the same leaders emerge? The ones he’s hoping might arise are already there, allbeit waiting in the wings. I’ve been hinting as much in recent tweets. “The presence of true masters is only suspected. Lao Tze 17.”

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The introduction of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change quotes Passage 18, which echoes the Bhagavad Gita’s premise that at the nadir of historical cycles, true leaders come forward for the instruction and deliverance of troubled truth seekers:

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When countries degenerate into strife, / anarchy sets in.

When danger peaks, however, / heroes emerge / and come forward.

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In this context, the more realistic question is, Would a better leader selection process produce better results? That’s the immediate challenge facing today’s leader selectors.

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As for how timing influences leader selection, Lao Tze gives this answer:

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78.

Nothing under heaven is as soft,

receptive or pliant as water;

but when amassed,

nothing withstands

its tidal wave impact.

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As water penetrates

and dissolves the hard,

erodes and absorbs the rigid,

those who yield and encompass their foes

prevail long after evil doers

have disappeared.

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Like water,

the sage takes the world’s suffering

to heart,

endures its hardships,

and responsive to the times,

becomes the catalyst

of collective action.

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So it is that the low and high trade places,

and the forceful lose their influence;

this is known by many,

but practiced by few.

Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices

A recent misunderstanding taught me a well-deserved humility lesson. Millennial spokesperson RhinoforDinner had challenged me: “What leadership quality do you think is most important for young leaders to learn?”

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Like a thoughtless Rhino, I jumped in feet first with an enthusiastic response. “I’d say Confidence, meaning ‘with faith’ in their True Selves: having the courage to hear & follow inner voice of Conscience.” Further, in a blog, Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals, I elaborated on why Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is dedicated to the Millennial Generation.

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In retrospect, I recognize my answer came straight from my own world view, failing to take Page’s background and beliefs into account. So I didn’t anticipate his response. Instead of answering me back, he cut off our Twitter connection.

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I felt surprised, baffled and more than a little hurt. But when I expressed my disappointment to a close friend, he showed no sympathy.

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In essence, he reminded me of the obvious. I still have a lot to learn. In particular, he pointed out that to people of faith who read the Bible, my response might have seemed New Agey. The responsibility is on my shoulders to be far more careful, considerate and clear in the future.

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I did my homework. Page Cole is co-author of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution…One Person at a Time. The book’s sub-title “one person at a time” resonates with the Positive Paradigm of Change and its motto, “Change from the Inside Out, and One Person at at Time.”

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However, whereas I’m a respecter of the world’s great religions, with an eye to the timeless, universal basics they share in common, Page is firmly grounded in the Baptist faith. I have greatest respect for the Bible and regard Christ as the ultimate universal teacher. But my answer failed to reflect this acceptance and respect. He had no way to recognize my answer as being completely in harmony with his beliefs.

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He had tweeted, “We believe in a Leader with Character, who acts with Integrity/Trust/ Respect for People. What do you stand for?” What he probably wanted to know was where I stand in relationship to other people.

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After healing my wounded feelings and doing an attitude adjustment, I invited Page to connect via LinkedIn. He quickly accepted, so I sent this message:

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Thanks for the connection, Page. I’d deeply appreciate your feedback. Rather than guess, I’d like to know from you why you responded to my Twitter answer to your leadership question by cutting me off. My head says to let it go. My heart says there’s something important to learn from you. There’s so much good will on this side. Why the disconnect?

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He responded charitably, re-following my Twitter account immediately. Later he emailed a detailed response. The cut-off was an unintentional error, he wrote, adding , . . “your comments were insightful and genuine. I loved the blog post.” But he also added a hint: “I’m not as versed in the writing you mentioned. . . “

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He continued, “I come from a distinctly Christian background.  I believe that ‘inner voice’ is the character within me that is being shaped by many factors, among them culture, family, relationships and of course Scripture and my personal relationship with God.”

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So far, it was merely a language disconnect. For him, “character” is a highly value-ladened word, one that by his definition spans the surface, middle and center of the Life Wheel, linking them. What I call a Philosopher-Warrior-Ruler, he calls a Person of Character. So far, no substantial disagreement. 

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Here’s how I picture our common understanding:

0 leader ruller

 

BUT then came the heart of the disconnect. He continued,

 

I’m not convinced that the “inner voice” is always a good thing to listen to, as evidenced by the actions of destructive and evil people throughout history.

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This is a seriously important reservation. It’s my boundary-spanner job to reach across the divide with a response that connects us in common understanding.

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The unique contribution of the Positive Paradigm of Change is that it speaks to this issue. It pictures a reality map that draws clear distinctions between rational, sub-rational and super-rational levels of experience. It’s not a new model. But it rephrases the “perennial philosophy” in terms of Einstein’s physics, linking historical wisdom with modern experience. It gives a way to articulate the important difference between misleading, deceptive voices that imitate conscience and the “real deal.”

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It follows in the footsteps of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who was instrumental in introducing the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching, the venerable Chinese Book of Change to the English-speaking public. He worked to define the common thread of human experience that links wisdom traditions throughout human history, as did comparative religion teachers, notably Joseph Campbell and Huston Smith.

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Universal stories they focused on include one told by the Greek philosopher Plato. His psychological model pictures a chariot drawn by a pair of horses that pull in opposite directions. A white steed tries to pull the chariot off course, striving upward so close to the sun that it risks catching fire and being consumed. The black one pulls downwards, threatening to crash the chariot and driver into the ground. The driver’s challenge is to rein in and coordinate the team, steering a steady middle course that avoids danger-filled extremes. In this way, he succeeds in reaching his intended destination.

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[Regrettably, this poetic model, while psychologically accurate, has been taken literally and harmfully misconstrued as if it had racist implications.]

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A similar chariot story from the Hindu tradition is told in the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna, a warrior driving his chariot into battle, grows faint of heart. At this point, Krisna, a god representing conscience, makes his presence known. As the passenger seated behind Arjuna, Krisna advises with encouragement and wisdom, giving him the heart to prevail in fighting the good fight.

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The Positive Paradigm Wheel is true to these poetic traditions. All account for the interdependent facets of awareness. The rational mind (driver) of the chariot (physical body) must skillfully harness the horses (energies, emotions) that power the vehicle, while heeding the guiding voice of conscience in order to meet ultimate goals.

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In addition, however, the Positive Paradigm, also accounts for the actions of destructive and evil people throughout history which give Page pause. Despite claims to the contrary, such actions are not the result listening to the Inner Voice of Conscience. Evil actions are the mark of unbalanced extremists who have been misled into following the seductive voices lodged within the middle, sub-rational level of the Wheel.

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Destructive leaders are heeding not the innermost voice of Conscience, but the clamor of the Seven Deadly Sin-Demons — starting with Pride, followed by (and often in combination with) Anger, Avarice, Gluttony, Lust, Envy and Sloth. Modern day demon off-spring include Separatism, Exclusiveness, Arrogance, Ambition and Competition.

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What’s dangerously missing from the prevailing, exclusively materialistic paradigm of empirical science — a glaring gap which the Positive Paradigm of Change fills — is a universally acceptable reality map which includes the sub-rational middle level with all its dangers, but in its complete and correct context: contained by the super-rational level of intuition on one side and by the rational level of practical experience on the other.

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Herein is the common thread which continues the earlier blog, the Fateful Fear of Self-Awareness. I will shortly post a description of the reality map with emphasis on the too little known and greatly misunderstood, danger-fraught middle level. Character- based leaders in every walk of life and therapists as positive change agents can use it as a reference to realistically navigate the temptations of Seven Deadlies and their off-spring in order to prevail in fighting the good fight for themselves, and then for those those who place trust in them.

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In the meantime, dear Page, I heartily encourage you to read your Bible faithfully. I’m remembering Old Testament words burned into my mind from a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah long ago. It’s a tenor solo, the scripture-based words being, “If with all your heart ye truly seek me, Ye shall ever surely find me. Thus sayeth our God.” It’s as good a guide for sincere leaders as one would wish for in this dangerous world.

 

All best.

Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals

At 7:07 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd, a tweet from RhinoforDinner popped into my email inbox. “Thanks for the follow! I’m Page! What leadership quality do you think is most important for young leaders to learn?”

I tweeted back, “Great Q, Page! I’d say Confidence, meaning “with faith” in their True Selves: having the courage to hear & follow inner voice of Conscience.” I double-checked Page’s avatar – a seriously disgruntled cartoon rhino.

Here’s the description: “What is real leadership? A rhino in a restaurant is no doubt powerful… But he has no authority! Helping leaders lead with authority!” So I followed up, “Conscience is the connection with ultimate inner authority.” Then, on second thought, an hour later, “Con-science = with science, the true meaning of which is ‘with knowledge.’”

I have enormous compassion for Millennials . . . as well as great hope, which is why the 2014 edition of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is dedicated to them:

Though it may seem as if they’ve been economically disenfranchised by their elders, material misfortune on the surface of the Positive Paradigm Wheel contains within it the hidden seeds of humanity’s long-term survival.

Ours isn’t the first time in the repeating cycles of history that leaders have squandered national resources. But in the context of Lao Tze’s larger reality, material resources aren’t that significant when compared with the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those whom circumstances oblige to return to the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.

Millennials are the ones for whom the results of the materialistic, conflict-paradigm are so catastrophic that they have no vested interests to protect. They’re the ones prepared to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasure of the Positive Paradigm buried deep within the Tao Te Ching‘s wisdom.

  They’ve been given the greater opportunity to dig deep,

rediscover their inalienable inner resources, and

become the truly radical agents of substantive, positive change.

In the repeating cycles of generational pendulum swings, their 1960’s grandparents (indiscriminately) embraced all things change – on the surface. Religious, sexual and cultural norms went by the board. Hippie flower children dropped out of “the system” and tuned in to drugs, hard rock and doing their own thing.

Working with less-than-perfect translations of the I Ching, they popularized the misunderstood Chinese Book of Change to rationalize (predictable) rebellion against security-obsessed elders, who (as survivors of the great depression and World War II), had reacted in opposite and equally extreme ways to the extremes of the generation before them. (And so on, and so forth, round and round again.)

My best hope for Millennials is that they’ll benefit from the lessons of history and NOT mindlessly perpetuate the pattern of yo-yo swings between opposite and equally dysfunctional extremes on the surface, disconnected from the timeless center.

We now recognize that different visions of timeless truth are, necessarily, inherently the same. Looking back in time, the Tao Te Ching (along with the I Ching worldview it expresses) is remarkably compatible with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Looking forward, it is equally compatible with the teachings of Christ. Most recently, the correlation has been made with the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula. He had the Unified Theory, though lacking familiarity with ancient teachings, didn’t know it.

Now, as in the time when Christ walked the Earth, true fundamentalists and radicals (both words mean the same thing) aren’t conflicting extremist groups that meddle with events on the material surface of life’s wheel, but single individuals with the courage and vision to change themselves from the inside out.

Millennials, along with the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well, can benefit from a hard-earned, deeper understanding of change. They’re becoming aware that times of adversity and extreme danger offer opportunities for self-transcendence. They can anticipate hidden blessings (however well-disguised) and prepare according to The Common Sense Book of Change view of CHANGE:

49. CHANGE

Day and night replace each other

in endless cycles of CHANGE.

The same natural law generates flux

in human events.

The unprepared see change

as a threat,

but the well-prepared

face the unknown calmly.

They know that after degeneration

reaches critical mass,

regeneration follows.

Welcome the new.

Avoid short-sighted fear.

 

This, in turn, however, leads to a whole new subject.

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globe

Seven Axioms of Positive Change

As promised, here is an abbreviated list of the seven basic axioms of viable, positive change as they’re listed in The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. They all refer to the basic model of concentric circles linked in a continuous, infinite loop:

 

PositiveParadigmWheel

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  • AXIOM ONE: A complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success.

In the Positive Paradigm worldview, the physical world of experience has its origin and end at the creative center of the Wheel. The unseen drives the seen. The invisible precedes the visible. Inspiration precedes actions which in turn produce results.

Therefore, the quality of daily life depends on the quality of belief systems. If the paradigm held is complete and accurate, it leads to consistent action that yields successful, beneficial results. When paradigms are incomplete and inaccurate, however, they generate inconsistent actions that lead to failure, pain and suffering.

By definition, a universal paradigm can be applied to every and any aspect of life. A rethinking of personal lives, bringing them into alignment with the Positive worldview, will enhance well-being on all levels. A similar rethinking of organizational structures on increasingly larger scales of magnitude will have equally beneficial consequences.

A deep understanding of the Positive Paradigm illumines whatever field of endeavor upon which it is focused. This includes all the arts as well as the physical and social sciences — economics, politics and government.

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  • AXIOM TWO: We are each a world complete, containing the potentials of the universe.

Sadly, this is the least known but most important fact of life we never learned in school – but should have. In large part, the Handbook is written as the book I searched for on the library shelves, but couldn’t find. It should have been there, and now will be for others who also sense that there’s something really important missing from what we were taught which must be restored. It’s the basis of a fundamental respect for self as well as for all others.

The place to look in this information starts with ancient medical traditions. The traditional sciences of both India and China map the subtle inner energy patterns which Huston Smith called the “invisible geometry” which shapes all humanity to a “single truth.”

In these worldviews, energy emanates from and returns to an eternal source. It is the stuff from which the physical world is generated. It is the substructure which frames the physical human body, upon which mental and physical health depend. When this energy is abundant, its circulation free flowing, and its distribution balanced, we experience health. When energy is depleted, stagnant or unbalanced, the result is disease on every level.

The functional term “health” in the context of these traditions means “whole.” The health of subtle energetic and related biological systems depends on the integrated balance of the interrelated parts. Each part depends on and completes the whole. The concept of “holism” expresses this worldview. . . .

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  • AXIOM THREE: Unity and Diversity Are Necessary Compliments

The third axiom is almost as neglected as the second. In addition, it is subject to distortions and misunderstandings that make matters worse. This confusion is the unfortunate cause of conflict in family relationships, and all the way up the life chain to conflict between nations.

Inherent, inner similarity is the realistic foundation of common understanding. However, the fact that all people have the same inner structure does not mean that all are identical, or should be treated the same. Quite the contrary, within the evolutionary chakra scale, at any given time, most individuals are focused on only one or a small combination of centers and their related issues.

Like snowflakes, humans are identical in their basic structure. Each, however, is unique expression of the universal pattern. Personal abilities and needs are the result of an infinitely complex set of variables. And just as the balance of energy centers promotes the health of the individual, a balance of complimentary aptitudes and interests promotes the general health of society at large.

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  • AXIOM FOUR: The consequences of action are inevitable; those who respect the law of karma succeed.

Axiom Four is the practical foundation of ethics. In a materialist, linear worldview, it may seem possible to hide selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances and escape the logical consequences of one’s actions. This false premise and its horrific outcome, however, is exposed in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm reality, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye reap, so shall ye sow,” 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 stated the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This observation 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, return in kind.

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  • AXIOM FIVE: History is neither linear or progressive, nor can human survival be taken for granted.

Some things change. Others never do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, who wrote the world-loved Tao Te Ching, or The Way and Its Power, knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles. Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, to capture markets, maximize profits and beat out the competition.

All these texts draw on the wisdom encoded in the I Ching, the venerable Book of Change, to steer them in the decision-making process. They rely on the law of subtle change and the personal understandings derived from working with it to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used as a protective, self-defense measure, or exploited with endlessly ingenious variations that take advantage of the uninformed. . .

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. That the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, some today still continue to think of history as a flat, straight line. In this they are as sadly mistaken as were the navigators who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat. In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

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  • AXIOM SIX: Used as a linguistic tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.

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

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

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

One example is the word “positive.” Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.

At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution.

  • AXIOM SEVEN: With a correct paradigm, practical methods and useful tools, you can make yourself whole.

As stated in the Preface caveat, according to the Positive Paradigm, everyone is already intrinsically whole. Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” This is the wisdom behind the biblical admonition, “Ye must be perfect like your father.” However, just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

Worse, many have been deceived into believing they’re inherently not-okay. The Handbook confirms inherent wholeness. Its structure provides the practical foundation for actualizing in-born potential and initiating the ongoing process of making and keeping ourselves FUNCTIONALLY whole, over and over again.

The subtitle Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change isn’t intended to suggest that this or any other book can magically or literally make anyone whole, or that once through the book, you’re done. It requires not only initial work, but ongoing follow-through. It’s personal intention and consistent effort that produce results. This is just a really useful tool.

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To be continued. Each of the basic axioms generates numerous related corollaries. Future blogs will list the most important of them.