Tag Archives: Nelson Mandela

What You See Is What You Get

This post continues the threads, “If You Love Your Children . . .” and “. . . Tell Them How the World Works.”

Tragically, schools have been being co-opted by ideologues who promote the false belief that the way to end human suffering is to destroy unjust social structures. This brainwashing poses a grave danger to young people. It is more likely to end human life on the planet than to end suffering.

In thinking how to best counter destructive lies, I recalled these lines from Essay Sketches on Positive Action:

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET.

Life is whatever you choose to make it.

I also remembered the words of a mentor at the Wisconsin School Board Association. Shaking his head, Senn Brown told me, “You are ahead of the times.”

Well, as the song goes, “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.” Though I was already on track, I’ve learned a bit since then.

In If You Love Your Children . . , I described Dr. Peterson’s advice for withstanding unfairness and suffering. It’s summarized in 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:

Essentially, his book advises people to “man up.” All of us have the potential to be much better than we are. Before criticizing the world, our first responsibility is to improve ourselves with discipline, carving out meaning in our lives as a bulwark against the chaos of life’s inevitable hardships.

Certainly this is excellent advice for coping with circumstances, literally standing on the circle’s rim.

But there’s much more to life than circumstances experienced on the surface. And the origins and solutions to most of our problems lie hidden beneath that surface.

For positive solutions to current circumstances, we have to look deeper. We need to remember the fabulous inherent inner resources whose very existence is denied by believers in shallow, exclusively materialistic science who give us permission to know only that which is tangible, measurable and quantifiable.

In contrast, the wisest among the teachers of any other time and place than our immediate circumstance have consistently told us that we are far more than a physical body.

The rules of this deeper wisdom are summed up in The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. It lists Seven Axioms which compliment and complete Dr. Peterson’s 12 Rules. They give depth to his assertion that all of us can be much better than we now are.

Consistent with its predecessor, the Book of Change, The Handbook holds:

  • Dysfunctional paradigms tie us in knots. They tear us apart. They drive us crazy. They push us (first individually, then collectively) to murder and even suicide.
  • To survive intact, we must cleave to the essence of the perennial philosophy. The universal Life Wheel is a snapshot of the essential truth which the world’s great religions share in common. It offers us a way out of global madness. It gives us a means for restoring sanity to our world outlook.
  • Peace and positive change necessarily begin one individual at a time, and are accomplished from the inside out. So long as dysfunctional paradigms put individuals at war with themselves, general ignorance will continue to escalate into worldwide conflict.

The Seven Axioms, along with basic corollaries, are based on the multi-dimensional, two-directional Life Wheel that looks like this:

levels of law - sized

These are the axioms:

AXIOM 1.  A complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success.

AXIOM 2.  We are each a world complete, containing the potentials of the universe.

AXIOM 3.  Unity at the center and diversity on the surface are necessary compliments.

AXIOM 4.  The consequences of action are inevitable; those who respect the law of karma succeed.

AXIOM 5.  History is cyclical, not linear or progressive; nor can human survival be taken for granted.

AXIOM 6.  Used as a linguistic tool, the Life Wheel promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.

AXIOM 7.  With a correct paradigm, practical methods and useful tools, you can make yourself whole.

book header bird

Here is how I would apply these axioms to answer the radical student’s question to Dr. Peterson about unfairness, alienation and loneliness.

Taking up where I left off in “ . . Tell Them How the World Works,” I mentioned creating images to illustrate written text. This is important, because words function in the analytical (yang) left-brainer mode, while pictures speak to those of us who function primarily in the creative non-verbal (yin) right-brainer mode.

What you do or don’t see, through which ever side of the brain you favor, depends on you. If you’re fortunate to have both sides active, balanced and cooperating harmoniously, all the better.

To refresh your memory, a primary excuse ideologues use to rationalize overthrow of the established order is “thrownness:”

. . you’re a certain race and you’re born with a certain level of intelligence. You’re born in a certain culture with a certain language and in a certain socio-economic class and with a certain degree of attractiveness. And those are all things that are handed to you.

As Dr. Peterson paraphrases their argument:

The talents and catastrophes of life are by no means equally distributed. From the perspective of the standards of human justice and perhaps human mercy as well, there is something intrinsically unfair, unjust about the structure of existence itself.

Here is my picture of the catastrophes that result from living exclusively on the surface, ignorant of the workings of our inner universe. Both center and middle levels of life are repressed to comply with exclusively materialistic rules of the knowledge game.

As an aside, let me emphasize that suffering of the natural world is magnified and twisted beyond recognition by the unnatural, unnecessary overlay of ignorance humans add to the mix.

Unfair-sized

What do you make of it?

At first glance, it makes me think of PTSD victims, suicidal drop-outs, violent protesters and serial killers. At second, it reminds me of Pastor Joe Fox’s survivalist advice. “If you believe you are helpless, that whatever you do makes no difference, that there’s no hope, it’s true.” Believing it makes it so.

To name just a few who rose above harsh circumstances – What if Nelson Mandala, born black in an apartheid nation and incarcerated for dozens of years, had acted on this world view? Or Anne Frank, who hid in an attic from Nazi oppressors until betrayed, and died at age 15 in a concentration camp? Or Helen Keller, left deaf, dumb and blind after an early disease?

In contrast, here’s a picture of life completed by inner wisdom. Mandela, Frank and Keller drew on these resources to overcome harsh circumstances. So can each of us. The image gives new meaning to Dr. Peterson’s repeated advice, “Go deep!”

Life is Mysterious

It reminds me of Solomon’s words, “To everything there is a season.” In a complete world view, through the times friendship, love, work and conflicts, the full spectrum of emotions is in-formed by self-aware introspection and, at the deepest level, the abiding stillness of inner peace.

Based on this world view, I would ever so briefly suggest that each of our present circumstances is the result of a long history of past actions. And our futures depend upon the choices made and actions we take NOW.

Also, as concluded in If You Love Your Children. . . :

What if (like Christ born in a filthy stable) you came here on a soul mission, given challenges perfectly matched to your unique calling – perhaps life lessons to be learned? What if life is complex and mysterious, but inherently just? It’s quite possible.

Phoenix - sized

But this is plenty to absorb for now. Another set of pictures shows an alternative, wisdom response to life’s suffering. But it will wait.

Closing where I started today, my School Board Association mentor, Senn Brown, told me I was ahead of my times. He said this because I warned out of the gate that Affirmative Action legislation missed the point. Not only was it unenforceable. It would trigger inevitable backlash.

I’m one of Camille Paglia’s generation. Toxic, irrelevant universities could not contain creative thinkers. She told Dr. Peterson her peers dropped out, overdosed and disappeared off the radar.

But I chose a less traveled path. Though having no illusions about the University, I completed the Ph.D., committed to earning the credential required to build relevant schools which DO meet students’ needs.

Deeper still, I held fast to the belief that relevant sciences and teachers are still available to those who sincerely seek them. And in that I was not disappointed.

I continue to write, sustained by the hunch that the day is soon coming when I and the times will finally come into synch.

In any case, you might find the rest of the Essay Sketch I opened with interesting:

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Life is whatever you choose to make it. Make cultural heroes of people who pride themselves on their ability to beat the system and stand above the crowd — eager-to-please imitators will strive to replicate that model.

What would the world be like if, instead, value were placed on good will, friendship and cooperation? Not leveling, mind you. Communist experiments in China and Russia have proven that starving personal initiative doesn’t work any better than the everyone-for-himself approach.

Try the middle road. Give Positive Action a chance, and see what you get. Start small, with what can be done in your own personal life and inner circles. The ripples will spread in all directions.

Angel Calling

Advertisements

Rethinking FREEDOM

 

globe

40. FREEDOM

“The natural laws of the universe are inviolable: Energy condenses into substance. A person who neglects to breathe will turn blue and die. Some things simply can’t be dismissed.

.

“It is also part of the cosmic law that what you say and do determines what happens in your life.” — Brian Walker, Hua Hu Ching : The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu

.

“Especially for those of us who lived in single cells, we discovered that sitting down just to think is one of the best ways of keeping yourself fresh . . . to address the problems facing you. You could stand away from yourself in the past and examine whether your behavior was befitting to a person who tried to serve society.” — Nelson Mandela, Interview, Larry King Live

.

“When employees trade love, soul and freedom for maximizing profits, corporations lose their human center, and that’s as deadly for corporations as it is for us. The unhappiness and suffering that trade-offs create suggest that the paradigm is the culprit. We’re using bad software, and it’s distorting our concepts of what’s going on. We need all three together to be creative. When we’re destructive, it’s not because our nature is destructive, but because the trade-off paradigm is destructive to us.” — Breton & Largent, Love, Soul & Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path

.

THE FRONT

.

Freedom is the state or quality of being free, implying exemption or liberation from the control of other people or arbitrary powers. It means liberty and independence. It implies exemption from arbitrary restriction or a specified civil right. It can mean exemption or release from imprisonment, or being able to act, move or use without hindrance or restraint. It means being able of itself to choose or determine action freely, at will, implying ease of movement performance or facility. It means being free from the usual rules or patterns. It can also mean easiness of manner, or sometimes an excessive frankness and familiarity.

.

Like the words peace, love and unity, freedom is a state attained on the inside first, only then reflected in external circumstances. In I Ching context, freedom is a state of in-dependence, depending on inner resources for guidance, protection and peace. The freedom sages seek is the cessation of negative, involuntary patterns of behavior. Breaking the chains of destructive cause and effect is a function of focus combined with self-correction, forgiveness and atonement (at-one-ment) in positive action.

.

Those secure in themselves dedicate their lives to extending the freedom they value for themselves to others without prejudice. Abraham Lincoln, for example, had the soul of a sage. He intuitively knew the basics of magic, and recognized the difference between black and white rules. He wrote, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” As if direct from the Treatise on Esoteric Ethics, Abe delivered a speech in Wisconsin where he said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith do our duty as we understand it.”

.

Yet legal prohibitions cannot end of slavery. Saying and doing whatever one wants as a puppet of blind impulse isn’t true freedom. Seeing through negative filters of fear, pride, or apathy is as limiting as literal blindness. Even in a society that calls itself democratic, to the extent we’re unaware of inner wisdom and the laws of natural change, we’re not really free.

.

Soul is like the in-breath of life. Love is like the out-breath. Freedom is the intertwined marriage of soul and love in balanced, rhythmic exchange. When we can’t breathe freely, we slowly starve from within, and wither mysteriously even in the midst of apparent prosperity.

.

Breton and Largent, quoting the Sufi mystic Rumi, write, “Whatever we do, we do from our inner compass. That’s free:

.

Take someone who doesn’t keep score,

Who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,

Who has not the slightest interest even

in his own personality: He’s free.”

.

In I Ching context, the self-mastery attained by thinking and acting consistently from a positive paradigm that’s simple, complete and correct is the most precious, inalienable freedom.

.

Nelson Mandela’s life is proof that it’s not circumstances which enslave.

.

THE BACK

.

The opposite of freedom is imprisonment or slavery. This includes not only external, physical incarceration, but internal, self-imposed limitations. Bad attitudes, negative emotions and self-destructive habits can be as addicting as tobacco, alcohol or drugs, undermining personal freedom.

.

Recklessness and heedlessness are perversions of freedom. If a mistrusted authority says not to drink, smoke or drive too fast, for example, the first thing a rebellious teen will do to assert “freedom” is disobey, regardless of the consequences. Sadly, this is the hard way to learn the connection between foolishness and disaster.

.

————————

Brian Walker, Hua Hu Ching: the Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu. (HarperSanFrancisco: New York, 1992.) #40.

.

Nelson Mandela, Larry King Live Interview, aired May 16, 2000. cnn.com/transcripts.

.

Denise Breton & Christopher Largent, Love, Soul & Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path. (Hazelden: Center City, Minnesota, 1998.) p. 7.