Tag Archives: Millennials

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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I’m Writing To . . .

 

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Like magic, hints about the baby steps to take next have been coming from all directions.

Today, I’m writing in answer to a comment made on Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough:

Hi Patricia, I enjoy your writing style. That said, one must write with a target audience in mind; at least commercially. Otherwise you are just writing for yourself.

For a split second, I went on the defensive.

What??!! Just mental masturbation? Focus on making money?

This particular LinkedIn connection has followed my posts from the beginning. He should know me better by now.

To state once more what I’ve repeatedly said, I write because — like so many men and women – my lonely, early years were haunted by unspeakable specters of suicide and abuses of power. If what helped save me could, paid forward, make a difference in even one life, it would, for me, be enough.

To save one life is to save the world entire.” This is the mantra that keeps me going late nights, after daily tasks are completed, even when my physical body urgently wants rest.

Though surely not intended, what “a target audience” conjures in my mind is the image of armed game hunters dressed in orange and camo garb, scouting for animals to snuff the life out of and eat for dinner.

Not that I haven’t given conventional writers’ wisdom – “know your audience” – some thought, thank you anyway. I have. A lot, in fact.

Here’s part of the problem. The Life Wheel is universal. It offers a scientific underpinning to support humanistic calls to live in peace. As written in Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This, it has the potential to restore awareness of the common humanity everyone everywhere shares in common.

On the opposite, shadow side, today’s lack of a universally accepted, complete and accurate paradigm answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Limiting, misleading paradigms are a root cause of widespread conflict and suffering in today’s dangerously volatile world.

Everyone is fascinated by both sides of change. On the one hand, we yearn for positive improvements. On the other, we dread the unknown. That’s because no one taught us the survival basics in school. We never learned how the dynamics of duality drive relationships in the world. We don’t know how to balance yin-yang opposites to maintain stability, first within, then without.

So we remain conflicted – on all levels. Ambivalent. Paralyzed. In fact, lack of survival basics has become our Achilles Heel – our fatal flaw.

Change is a word on the lips of CEOs, politicians, radicals, therapists, pastors everywhere. All use it. But very few have an in-depth understanding of what it’s about, much less have the methods and means to act as effective agents of positive change.

That’s one reason why I have a problem with niche thinking. The current trend of carving humanity into smaller and smaller, mutually exclusive either/or interest groups is a symptom of the fragmented, isolating thinking we desperately need to overcome. . . . which the Life Wheel has the potential to heal.

Fortunately, however, this coin has a flip side too. Being universal, the Life Wheel can be brought to life – animated and applied to illumine each and very tiny corner niche.

So, I’ve done my bestest to go with the flow of common wisdom.

For example, for a time I focused on MILLENNIALS. Being tech savvy, I thought, they are especially well qualified to resonate with the digital technology of the Book of Change — The I Ching. Further, they’re the ones most disillusioned of the “American dream.” Being less invested than their elders in prevailing, dysfunctional paradigms, I thought they would “get it.”

In When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? I wrote what still reads to me like a wake-up tour de force.

I continued with Good News and Bad News for Millenials.

Did any one get it? What more can I say? (Perhaps, I sometimes think, someone else might say it differently and better.)

Nevertheless, I tried again, suggesting what could have been billion dollar game and app ideas in An Inner Compass App for Millennials

Response? Instant contact from a venture capitalist. He wanted to pick my brain; tried to coerce me into signing a non-competition agreement that would, in effect, block further blogging. So sorry. No can do. (Reminded me of Hannibal’s words, “When the lamb cries, the wolf comes. But not to help.”)

Next, in frustration over the foolishness of a self-proclaimed millennial leader who didn’t get it whatsoever, I wrote What the Generations Share in Common.

So, moving on to other audiences.

The I Ching has been the primary decision-making tool used by LEADERS in every walk of life – government, military, monastic, medical, mercantile . . you name it . . . for thousands of years.

So I applied the Life Wheel, as the next generation Book of Change, to address a host of leaderships issues. For example, in response to a direct question, I wrote How Bad People Become Leaders; and then Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow.

In True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass to Over Come Confusion, I introduced the Life Wheel to Authentic Leaders who already accept the importance of following their North Star.

In The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change, I’ve shown how THERAPISTS and SELF-HEALERS can turn the Life Wheel into a diagnostic and a decision-making tool. I have a special fondness for Jungian analysts, and said so in Therapists as Positive Change Agents.

For those who chose to frame their truth in the language of PHILOSOPHY, I wrote Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game. Here I focused the Life Wheel on the field of epistemology – the (politically charged) study of who can know what, and how.

The list goes on.

But . . . I still ask myself, how does one “target” the diverse and widely scattered audience of readers who hide painful dark secrets under the facade of their ordinary lives as housewives, students, soldiers, athletes, priests, poets, politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs and on and on. . . ?

How does one “target” the hidden army of loved ones so poorly equipped to win the war to rescue sons, daughters and spouses from quiet desperation?

How does one effectively extend compassionate hope to the multitude of isolated, face-saving power abusers in high office — addicts driven by psychological forces outside their conscious awareness, rendered taboo by current dysfunctional paradigms.

How do I tell all of them, that like me, with the I Ching as a confidential best friend, they would find out that they are never, ever truly alone. And that everyone can choose to change for the better.

With its wisdom and support (explain its magic as you will), I have brought myself back from every temptation – from hated, the impulse to revenge, from self-pity and despair.

With its help, I’ve gleaned the benefit of lessons to be learned from adversity.

It has inspired me, instead reacting against abuse and succumbing to the danger of becoming an abuser myself, to live and to serve as a healing beacon to others.

What follows is a personal example of desperation and life-saving help excerpted from Rethinking Survival:

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The scriptures were inspiring. [the swami] cynically perverted them. A pundit disciple based in Minneapolis initiated gullible students in the rituals of guru worship. This aristocratic charmer held Western seekers in contempt and dummed the teachings down.

The powers of this smooth, flamboyant “holy man” were foreign to Western sensibilities. He flaunted a repertoire of magic tricks. He could change blood flow in his feet. He read minds and hypnotized students.

He reportedly bilked American students out of thousands of dollars for nonexistent hospitals in India.

By his own admission, disciples in India would have burned his ashram to the ground had they known he was habitually performing sexual tantra (rape) on unsuspecting American women. . . .

At his ashram in Rishikesh, India, three women he’d seduced got together and traded information. We realized none of us was a “special exception” to his vow of celibacy.

When we blew the whistle, he flipped out. Tantric teachings, he raged, were sacred teachings. Exposing them would damn us forever. We were terrified and backed down.

To the detriment of other relationships, I obeyed his command, “Keep still!!”

Covering his backside, the swami informed his psychologist henchmen that I was “mentally disturbed.” Protecting vested interests in their careers, they treated me as if I were crazy.

It took years to get over the pain, anger and confusion caused by their betrayals.

But I healed. I used yogic introspection to get over it mentally. To repair emotional damage, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine. For solace and hope, I looked to the New Testament.

But my best friend and advisor throughout was The Book of Change. I didn’t dare talk with people who knew the swami. They would have turned against me, not helped.

His powers were outside the experience of university-trained therapists. There were no qualified professionals to turn to.

Confiding in family was out of the question. If I went to them with one problem, I’d end up with two.

But with the I Ching, I could be completely honest. It has no agendas. Opening my heart to ask my questions was like talking with my True Self. Its answers rang true. Instead of tearing myself apart by warring against abuse of power, I used it to turn inward to the higher authority I could trust: my own conscience.

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The ELEVENTH HOUR

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In drafting “Do You Have the Time?” I brainstormed all the possible ways this seemingly simple question can be taken (and mistaken). Different interpretations yield significantly different answers.

I also browsed for clip art clock faces to illustrate my point. Coincidentally, the one I chose adds yet another perspective, giving the question a deeper, philosophical meaning: “Do you know what time it is in your life?”

What stage of personal evolution / growth are you going through now? From a larger, historical perspective, what point in its life cycle is your business, nation or even the world experiencing today?

The pictured clock face shows the stage many say the world is now in: its eleventh hour.

Even then, there are different views as to the best way to respond to being at the eleventh hour in human history. The cliché is currently used to mean “running out of time, at the very last minute, or almost too late.”

But biblical origins of the cliché offer an alternative viewpoint. In Matthew 20: 2-16, laborers hired at the last, eleventh hour worked for only an hour. But at the end of the day, they received the same reward as those hired early in the morning, who had worked all day.

Christ’s parable of the eleventh hour epitomizes the hope humans have in God’s compassionate mercy. It’s never to late to change. It’s not over til it’s over.

(Of course, there is no such thing as coincidence.)

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Do You Have the Time?

Early this morning, I was startled awake by a cell phone alert. The power was out – for a second time. The first outage occurred over night. I was still asleep, so didn’t know the difference.

Roommates who commute long-distance to work got started just before the electric garage door came to a standstill. (They don’t know how to open it manually.)

Emergency protocols immediately kicked into place. I reached out in the dark for my wind-up flashlight. It was where it should be, on top of the disabled alarm clock. It supplied enough light to find a second, larger LED flashlight. It too was where I expected, on my work desk next to the powerless computer. I made my way carefully down the pitch black stairwell.

Next: get the battery-run lanterns out of storage. In one, the D-cells had gone dead. Look for back-ups.

Fortunately, there’s a battery-run wall clock by the main office door that keeps accurate time. Which is the subject of this post. “Do you have the time?”

Have you ever thought about how many different ways there are to answer this seemingly simple question, “Do you have the time?” My smart-mouthed high school friends, for example, would have answered, “If you have the nerve.”

The most straight-forward response is to look at a time-piece and give a literal answer. It’s 6:30 in the morning.

Alternative answers go along the lines of, I don’t have enough time . . . . to get the many tasks that need doing done well . . . to take care of my health . . . to check in on elderly relatives. Etc. etc.

Philosophical answers might include regret for the shortness and uncertainty of life. “Here today. Gone tomorrow.” Or, as the carved and painted wood plaque over my Grandfather’s fireplace mantle put it, “We get too soon old, and too late smart.”

Which brings me back to the point where I left off in the last post, “Rethinking Our Common Humanity:”

While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to WAKE UP.

Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster. But, like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, when you want dearly enough to return “home,” you can click your heels whenever you chose — and come to find out, you’re already there.

Most of us live as if today will last forever. We prefer to live in the moment. In part, this is a good thing. The mindful focus of a “Be here and now” attitude allows us to savor our immediate blessings.

However . . . on the other hand, heedless lack of foresight can have extremely dangerous consequences.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow add up, inevitably sneaking up from behind like a thief in the night when least expected. (And not just a temporary power outage like this morning. Think Pompeii.)

Impending disasters, even those right before our eyes like handwriting on the wall, can catch the unprepared off guard, robbing them of the precious time which could have been used to wake up from their deep soul sleep and re-member who they truly are.

I understand. Given today’s economy, many have little choice but to live hand-to-mouth. Check-to-pay-(or welfare)-check. Even the well-off who could afford to prepare are besieged with putting out day-to-day fires — or by other glittery distractions.

There’s no time or energy reserved for assessing possible risks. It’s not a priority to think through “If / Then” preparedness scenarios.

I find it most peculiar that even Millennials, who have grown up fluent in computer-driven technology, usually don’t apply if / then computer logic to their personal decision-making and daily behavior. This makes them even more ill-equipped than their elders to cope realistically with sudden change.

For example, in a personal email sent in response to “Give Millennials an App for Their Inner Compass,” Tom Richards detailed his frustration with Millennials:

I live in NJ where Hurricane Sandy hit dead center. Devastation like you would not believe. No power in most of the state for over 8 days. Here are actual examples which I came across immediately following the storm . . .

1. An hour after the storm ended, early in the morning, a car load of kids in their mid-twenties got stuck in a washed out piece of road in front of my house. No power, of course, and trees down everywhere. When the kiddies came to my door to ask to call for a tow truck, I had to laugh. When I asked them why the hell they were out on the roads, in their PJ’s none the less, immediately after the storm of the century, I got this. “We don’t have power and want coffee and breakfast. We are going to WaWa to get some.” Didn’t even dawn on them that if they have no power, and the state has no power, the WaWa doesn’t have power. Nor did it dawn on them that with the storm and devastation, that the people who work at WaWa would not be able to go there and open it for them.

2. Three days later the local farmers market opened, even though they only had power to keep the refrigerated items going. No power within 3 counties at this point. A young couple who lives two doors down needed food. Went to the market and came home empty handed. They had no cash, and the store was obviously only able to take cash. They pay for everything with their debit cards. Never dawned on them to have some cash around for emergencies and things like this. They were mad that the store wouldn’t sell them anything nor that they couldn’t take the debit card. It also is interesting that they never even thought to prepare even though warnings were given over and over.

3. My daughter and her friends were hungry. Her friends hadn’t had a hot meal in days. Plus, it had gotten cold and most had no heat. They came over to our house. Saw we were using my wood stove in the music studio to cook on and stay warm. It never dawned on them (or their parents, which frightened me) to use their BBQ propane grill or make a fire to cook with nor to build a fire in their yards to at least get a bit warm.

4. Just about every traffic light was out, and roads were blocked by either police or downed trees. I cannot tell you how many younger people stopped in front of my house when they saw me there to ask me how to get to a certain place, and also how many could not understand when I gave them road names where those roads were. . . .

What most amazes me is that repeatedly, after each disaster, whether natural or man-made, in media interviews, the “victims” chant the same mantra. “It was a WAKE UP CALL.” But life goes on. After the initial shock wears off, people get mired once again in the routines of daily living. And they forget. They go back to sleep.

We aren’t changing! And time is running out. As the late computer leader-innovator Steve Jobs poignantly observed:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Time is a blessing and a luxury. None of us knows how much time we have left to WAKE UP, think, prepare, and perhaps survive whatever is to come.

Commenting on “Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game,” Peter Fellingham gave his opinion:

Another reason why people avoid critical thinking is because it usually results in significant introspection. Introspection tends to make clear the responsibility the individual has for the resolution of their own troubles.

I answered back:

Peter, you’ve pinpointed the blind spot in curriculum — the information deficit of which I speak. Clear & critical thinking isn’t often taught in schools, nor are problem-solving tools provided as essential basics. They should be.

Then there’s the question of motivation. Requires a carrot & stick approach. The stick is awareness that laziness comes with horrific consequences. The carrot is assurance of the benefits which accrue to living a self-responsible life.

In part, people often avoid issues they find too fearful to face. If there truly are no better options, and only dangerous consequences, keeping still is an understandable choice. However, if better options ARE available, then making them known and available is an important first step in positive change. That’s what I’m working to accomplish.. . .

So, if you and/or those you lead and care for have been avoiding introspection, if you’ve been ignoring the warning signs and denying fears for the future, waiting for dangers to miraculously disappear and problems to be solved without effort, it’s time to take the striking two-by-four hint from escalating wake-up calls worldwide.

It may be a matter of survival to rethink priorities while there’s still precious time left to do so. Ask, If not now, when?

And consider the likelihood that the life / family / organization you save may be not only yours, but those in generations to come.

What the Generations Share in Common

Before writing on ways Millennials might use an Inner GPS App to decide where they want to go and how to get there, I searched the web for similar posts. There are tons of researched opinions on what Millennials want and need.

Marketers survey Millennials asking what they want to buy, from whom, and why. Business experts list the leadership qualities Millennials need.

But this particular approach is more inclusive. It goes a bit deeper.

Even in a world gone mad, as members of the human species, our basic wants and needs remain the same. On the surface of the Life Wheel, we all need food, clean water, shelter and clothing to survive. Some sleep also helps.

In a civilized world, we need the means to purchase these basics: income and/or a job. Respect in the larger community also helps.

At the middle energy/emotion level of the Life Wheel, most of us want to be accepted and supported. We want to feel secure. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life and, whenever possible, to avoid pain. In sum, we want to share our lives with fellow human beings.

At the innermost level, we crave answers about the purpose and meaning of our lives. We seek value. The boldest and bravest even aspire to know Truth. We want to know what Love IS. We crave unity, the stuff of Einstein’s Unified Theory, but continue to look for it in all the wrong places. (That, however, is the subject of another post still on the drawing board.)

The question here, however, is Where in a high-tech, polarized world gone mad, where the levels of the Wheel are fragmented and out of synch, can Millennials go to fulfill these universal requirements?

world gone mad.sized

Behind Millennials’ bravado and superficial social masks, their woes aren’t much different than they’ve ever been. The Buddha put suffering in perspective by promising to bring a dead child back to life if the grieving parents could find any household in the local village that had not been visited by death.

But of course, they could not.

The recent public revelation by movie star, political activist and philanthropist Jane Fonda translates universal suffering into today’s familiar terms. Her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, committed suicide at age 42 when Jane was 12. Only recently did the facts come out which led to closure. At age 76, to write her memoir, Jane looked up her mother’s medical records. There she found the key to understanding her mother’s behavior. From age 8, Frances had been the victim of sexual abuse.

Nor has life exempted me. My father, William Kirby West (named for his ancestor William Kirby Brewster, one of the earliest pilgrims who sailed from England to the New World on the Mayflower), committed suicide when I was 6. Since the subject was taboo in my dysfunctional family (a mirror of the dysfunctional society at large), no one told me the truth. I grew up believing my heart surgeon father died of a sudden heart attack at age 33. Only when I was 50 did my failing mother finally “remember” the facts surrounding his death.

This isn’t my only personal story. For example, (if you’ll pardon a bad pun), Swami Rama was one of the first to introduce yoga to the West. His front was that a celibate monk who’d taken vows of poverty. But appearances were deceiving.

Behind the scenes, he was a bold-faced hypocrite, liar and sexual predator who betrayed the trust of his students. A Yoga Journal author called his abuse of Tantric teachings “spiritual incest.” Translate: rape. In the hands of this opportunist, the teachings (a priceless heritage) were a convenient “product” that thirsty, naïve Americans wanted. He used them to make himself (for a short while) very rich and somewhat famous.

Oh well. “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.”

The point here is that I haven’t allowed the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune on the Wheel’s surface to define me. Instead, I’ve chosen to live by my mottos. First, “Take the best. Leave the rest.” Second, “Resist not evil. Persist in the good.”

I’ve repeatedly healed – made myself whole again – thanks to my inner apps (in this case, based on the King James version of The Bible and the Chinese Book of Change). I trust that nothing that happens on the surface can touch or change the essence of who I truly AM.

This blessing, the Inner App, is what I would love to share with millennials, as well as the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well. It necessarily starts with a complete and correct reality map that puts the whole of life into perspective.

Here’s a picture of universal needs, wants and aspirations and the ways many millennials seek to fill them:

MILLENIALS.sized

An aside to millennials. The world of hurt we’re in today was foretold by Christ and foreseen by yogic seers long before that. It has been a long time coming. Today’s mess cannot be taken personally. Nor is it appropriate or helpful to blame your elders. (If you believe in karma, consider that, even if for reasons unknown to you now, you’re the one who picked the time and place of this particular incarnation, maybe to fulfill an important purpose).

Be that as it may, put things in perspective. You think your elders let you down; but they were equally disappointed by theirs. On the opposite side of the coin, each generation of elders continues, for the most part, to sincerely do the best they know how, often in the face of terrible odds.

So let’s cut each other some slack.

Millennials as well as their elders are welcome to come aboard the Inner App project. After all, it’s in everyone’s best survival interests.

For if we taught ourselves to think holistically, in concentric circles, and if we organized / prioritized our lives accordingly, we’d begin thinking like Einstein, like geniuses.

If enough of us tuned in to the universal inner compass and began treating each other with compassionate respect, we’d fulfill Einstein’s dearest wish and start getting along. It might even tip the balance of history in favor of human survival.

Because that truly is what’s at stake.

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Where in the Wheel Are We NOW?

Utopia.sized

Comments on my last post, A Philosopher’s Response to Boomer & Millennial Blogs, are the logical springboard to a series. This the first installment.

Jerry Pociask (Life Coach | Inspirational Mentor | Author | Speaker) remarked, I have seen this diagram many times in the past.

Of course. This archetypal, mandala structure repeats in every civilization throughout history. It’s a map of the basic internal dynamics that make everyone, everywhere tick. It’s present throughout the records of cultural anthropology and embodied in the creation stories of the world’s enduring religions.

What IS news here is that this perennial diagram is also the stuff of modern physics, as well as the foundation of an inclusive Self-Awareness psychology. Rethinking Survival correlates this universal pattern with both the ancient Chinese Book of Change and Einstein’s famous formula of energy conversion.

It describes the universal pattern:

The Positive Paradigm’s Synthesis Wheel mirrors the micro-cosmic structure of atoms as well as the macro-cosmic structure of planetary systems. At the microscopic level, its concentric rings mirror the structure of atoms around a nucleus. It equally mirrors the symmetry of the planets orbiting around an organizing star, the sun. On the largest scale of magnitude, it reflects the in- and out-breaths of perpetually expanding and contracting universes.

This familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical 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 that cover Muslim Mosques, to name but a few.

They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity — a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.

This structure continues to take on new expressions to meet the unique needs of immediate times. Today is no exception. Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies are examples of how a timeless fascination with the war between good and evil is being retold using modern technologies. Today, a worldwide audience relates to archetypal adventure stories reenacted by dynamic action heroes.

Similarly, The Positive Paradigm Handbook gives new clothes to the timeless perennial philosophy. It is intentionally designed to meet the needs of decision-makers in every walk of life. Its practical methods and examples show how to personalize the timeless pattern, first bringing one’s individual life into alignment with the universal pattern and then restoring harmony to a chaotic environment.

For example, the universal pattern has been modified to use as a method for restoring mindfulness to the decision-making process. It emphasizes the critically important relationship between self-awareness and effective leadership.

Be Aware.sized

The Life Wheel in pristine form is complete. The levels are all present, correctly prioritized, and in balanced proportion. Were our lives so complete, we would be called “perfect.” Were our society equally whole and balanced, it would be called “Utopia.”

Few of us are there now. Although originally created in the image of the Creator, as a consequence of our own choices and actions over a very long time, our personal Life Wheels have become fragmented and “bent out of shape.” Like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, our dearest, deepest wish is to find our way home again.

Getting there requires a map, methods and proactive discipline. Converting the abstract Wheel into a practical diagnostic tool is a first step. The self-healer can use it to diagram the immediate situation, design a better future, and then decide on the steps necessary to get from here to there. Initially, the levels and sectors of one’s own life are drawn into a Wheel template. Then, taking a sequence of steps one-at-a-time leads towards the experience of an increasingly full and satisfying life.

For example, here is the diagram of an intermediate Life Wheel. It pictures the “state of the art” of an individual whose life is a work in progress. The X at the center represents the conviction that there is no God. The possible existence of a vital center has been ruled out. The innermost level of light (intuition, guidance) is therefore missing.

fagmented

Nevertheless, this improved personal Wheel a represents a major step forward from the starting point. New sectors have been added. Excessive focus on the Professional sector has been reduced and brought into relative balance. The sliver of a missing Family sector has been restored to the picture. An honest NO to the question of whether life is experienced as fulfilling has resulted in the decision to expanding the Entertainment sector to include time for self-improvement.

Redrawing the map can become a daily morning discipline. Ask yourself, “Where in the Wheel am I NOW?” And, if you don’t like it, “What am I willing and able to do about it NOW?”

In addition, however, there’s plenty more work to be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

Jerry Pociask’s comment hints at what’s next. He concludes, The diagram can be applied in so many ways . . . unfortunately it probably isn’t available on mobile phones!

That’s where I’ll begin next time.

Let Me Be Clear

What does “Positive Paradigm” mean to YOU? I have to wonder, because the word “positive” has 17 (!) discrete definitions which span the Life Wheel’s continuum from center to surface.

The word “paradigm” is becoming equally diluted and compromised. For example, Francisca Moors recently tweeted me from the Netherlands: “What’s todays paradigm about your self?” Her question implies that paradigms are personal filters (not culture-wide agreements) that can be changed like clothes from day-to-day to suit immediate whims.

In response, to clarify, I drew a picture showing the shifting levels to which the same badly abused word “paradigm” is applied.

 

0 Def of Paradigm

Please. Let me be very clear. When I use the word “positive,” I’m referring primarily to the core: “that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.” [See wp.me/p46Y5Z-9R.] Whether the effect of religious beliefs, social theories and economic policies is beneficial depends on the extent to which leaders and their followers are functionally connected with the eternal center. To the extent that they’ve lost their mooring, they’ve forfeited inherent power and validity.

Positive thinking becomes delusional when taken to mean “I can have whatever I want.” Positive Paradigm thinking humbly accepts that “With God, all things are possible.” The emphasis is on with. And all includes everything, hard and happy lessons in balance — not just whatever it is one wants.

Let me also be clear about how I use the word “paradigm.” It’s comprehensive and stable, foundational and basic beliefs — not something personal one can change on convenience, shifting with current fashions. What I call the “positive paradigm” is an inclusive, complete and correct worldview. It answers Joseph Campbell’s call for a universal “myth” (creation story), capable of recognizing the humanity of those living on the opposite side of the planet.

The Positive Paradigm of Change embodies what Aldus Huxley called the “perennial philosophy” — the core reality which the world’s great teachings share in common. For just as the sun is the center of our solar system and as there’s a nucleus at the center of each atom, there’s a central timeless experience of life which everyone everywhere shares in common.

Put the other way around, any belief system that’s not founded on eternal wisdom will inevitably, like the sands of time, be blown away. It cannot endure through the variable seasons of change. An incomplete, false paradigm, like the biblical “feet of clay,” will crumble when struck with the iron mallet of destiny.

The poet Yeats wrote “the center does not hold.” But that is the subjective experience of those who deny or forget their center. Nevertheless, acknowledged or not, the center remains, unchanged and eternal. It’s the true “common core” that (misleading label aside) is dangerously overlooked by the current, politically-driven educational fad.

Restoring the Positive Paradigm with its potential to outlast Titanic Times is an urgent matter of human survival. How urgent? Let’s see. The past week’s news alone offers several terrifying examples. Putin is saber-rattling again, doing a repeat of the Khrushchev-Kennedy death dance. “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers,” he threatens.

On other fronts, terrorists are planning to build missiles capable of spreading bubonic plague. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a dire warning: “Jihadists could reach Europe and America in a matter of months.” The chaotic Texas/Mexico border is increasingly feared to be a likely entry point for terrorists. Not to mention the “chatter” of a significant event to “celebrate” the approaching 13th anniversary of 9/11 in honor of the 13th Imam, possibly involving “home grown” American terrorists.

Adding insult to pending injuries, America’s fund-raiser-in-chief announced that America is safer than it was twenty years ago. In response to this statement, two references from earlier blogs come to mind. One is the pictured definition of sheer evil in Positive Paradigm context. [See “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.]

The other is the game show described in “To Tell the Truth.” [See wp.me/p46Y5Z-dA.] In that scenario, the rules of the game are that impostors have no rules. They can lie, deceive and misrepresent their intentions. Alinsky-like, their ends justify any means. An Obama observer on Glenn Beck’s website TheBlaze gave me a new word that describes Obama’s otherwise mystifying behavior exactly: TAQIYYA. It means religiously sanctioned deception. Its purpose is to infiltrate enemy organizations, undermining them from within.

In the face of all this “bad news,” I refer back to Mike Lehr. He’s the one who asked for my explanation as to how bad people become leaders (along with its implicit solution). In addition, he wanted to know whether dangerous circumstances result in the selection of better leaders. My answer: different faces won’t make much difference.

Leader-selectors (both formal and informal) have long since identified, trained and placed look-alikes to follow in their footsteps. Anyone who threatens that status quo has long since been driven off or otherwise destroyed. So insiders from the available candidate pool will continue to operate on the same variety of false paradigms.

There may be a few experienced but disenfranchised survivors left, ones who tenaciously hold to the timeless truth embodied in the Positive Paradigm. But as Old Avatar observed, it’s because they’ve had the good sense to hide out (like Yoda), perhaps to reemerge should another Luke Skywalker come forward. My best hope still remains with the as-yet untested Millennial Generation. From their ranks may emerge a handful of visionary leaders with the combined wisdom, courage and endurance to rise from the ashes of the approaching NELC.

It will be their blessing/responsibility to make the urgently needed Fresh Start clearly foreseen by the biblical dream-reader and prophet Daniel — the one who told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but.

 

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Good News & Bad News for Millennials

In duality, every gift has positive uses as well as opposite and equal abuses. The two-edged consequences of working with the Book of Change are no exception.

So when an ambitious millennial marketer of digitized experience – simulated sex, happiness and good mood “music” – tweeted me that his software products are based on the binary-digital code of the I Ching, I cringed. What?? Not possible. The primary purpose of this discipline is to quiet the emotional mind-body as a necessary first step in listening to conscience and making better decisions.

After a review the business website (I won’t embarrass him by naming it), I tweeted back indignantly. “This is an abomination. No connection. Don’t compare.” He quickly backtracked, replying he only intended personal respect for the book.

Why such an intense response? Let me refer back to the Old Testament, which repeatedly mentions the laws of nature codified in the I Ching in their correct, larger context. Many are familiar with King Solomon’s verses about natural change:

For ever thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Here, nature is placed between reason (purpose) on the one hand, and heaven on the other.

But how many recall the prophet Daniel’s vision of nature in necessary relationship to the unchanging Creator. From the King James Version:

2:20 . .  Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

2:21. He changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and seteth up kings:

and giveth wisdom unto the wise . . .

The Book of Change can be instrumental in the mindfulness practice of slowing down, regulating and reconnecting an individual’s noisy mind with the intuitive, True Self. Correctly used, it is compatible with timeless Truth. But in the larger scheme of life, it serves as a gatekeeper. Nothing more.

Here’s an illustration worth 1000 words that pictures the valid and necessary place of the natural law codified in the I Ching.   It shows both what it is – a two-directional gatekeeper – as well as what it is NOT.

0 Only Way Out

Worshipping nature instead of God is upside-down. Stimulating senses with the effect of obliterating reason and blocking out the voice of conscience is an abomination. It is neither mind-expanding nor “spiritual.”

Daniel the prophet dream-seer interpreted important end-time visions for King Nebuchadnezzar (more on “the feet of clay” another time). He also interpreted the fatefully ominous message of handwriting on the wall for Nebuchadnezzar’s son, King Belshazzar, who indulged in natural sensations to the exclusion of nature’s God. (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-cm.)

It would be well worth the Millennial entrepreneur’s time to revisit the larger context of 2 John 1:11. “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

This is why it’s so important that I take a stand. Indulging the senses out of context is seductive but desperately foolish. It is a choice for the dark side. I cannot silently allow the claim of connection with this precious gift to anyone who abuses it.

Similarly, in larger, holistic context, math-based, computerized sciences are gifts bearing opposite and equal potentials for good or evil, depending on how and why they’re used, and by whom. They can facilitate friendships and connection, educate and spread useful information – OR – lull the sheep into deadly sleep . . . simultaneously facilitating the ends of genocidal murderers who wage wars of mass destruction.

Life, time and attention are all precious gifts. The gift of free will grants each of us the personal choice of whether to squander them or use them wisely.

So, there’s good news and bad news. The choice is up to you. Failing to choose is also a choice.

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