On December 30th, year-of-our-Lord 2020, I listened to WarRoom Pandemic host Stephen K. Bannon and guest Roger Kimball opine on the late Andrew Breitbart’s words: “Culture is downstream from politics.”
WOW. I must differ.
They may be correct – as far as it goes. But, importantly, there’s more. Interacting culture and politics both vary with the flux and flow of events on the ephemeral surface of the Life Wheel. Together, they’re offshoots of something deeper – a fundamental paradigm.
Deeper still, archetypal ideas emanate from the Center of the Life Wheel. They depend on the silent Source from which ideas arise and civilizations then follow.
It’s a jigsaw puzzle of interlocking wheels-within-wheels, with a center piece that holds the entire picture together.
Steve introduced Roger as (among others things) President of Encounter Books, publisher of books on immanent threats throughout the world. Again, there’s more.
The greatest threat – the one which drives economic/political conflict – is the limited, fragmenting, nihilistic paradigm of empirical science. So long as the underlying paradigm is corrupt and corrupting, operating invisible and uncorrected, efforts to improve matters on the surface are futile.
Yes, in the case of America, restoring fidelity to the Constitution and rule of human law is NECESSARY. But it’s not sufficient. Deeper still, we have to restore a living, breathing understanding of Natural Law and, deeper still of Divine Law. After all, the Founders saw human law in the context of the laws of nature and nature’s God.
As an unfortunate fact of history, wisdom traditions, both East and West, are subject to entropy. Over time, the religious institutions of Judaeo-Christian culture – however noble at the core – have been infiltrated and egregiously abused to political ends.
For example, Elsworth Carlson, a family friend and my professor of Asian history at Oberlin College, wrote about his experience as a missionary in Shansi, China. Stranded there during War II, he came to appreciate the nobility of their culture. The one-sided attitude of his peers appalled him. They assumed Western culture was the only correct one. They therefore had a duty to impose it on a distant land which they neither understood nor appreciated.
No wonder Westerners were hated by the ruling classes. They despised not so much the culture, mind you, but the heavy-handed, violent way in which it was superimposed on countries across the globe. Today, from some combination of pride and revenge, Asian political leaders are following historical example, intent on turning the tables.
Fortunately, political-cultural warfare is superficial. Deeper than deep, people worldwide are waking up to the values they share in common – freedom, love of life, of family, of God. And that is bringing the best of us together. A shared, complete and correct paradigm will speed the process of cooperative agreements.
In Rethinking Survival, I quoted comparative religion legend Joseph Campbell:
We don’t have a mythology for people recognizing the humanity of a person on the other side of the hemisphere. I’ve often wondered if some of the notions coming out of quantum physics, quantum interconnectedness, don’t express that.
The Quantum Paradigm answers that call. It is:
. . . an 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.
Truth by definition is universal — eternally One and the same. All wisdom traditions are cultural expressions of the same, eternal Core, whether you call it Creator, Source, God, Great Father, Tao, Allah. . . or nothing at all.
Cultures are “great” to the extent they’re in alignment with the Center, the Source of greatness. Its expressions differ over time and by place. Their limitations are a function of (perhaps) inevitable corruption.
Fortunately, 2021 is offering humanity the opportunity to go deeper than surface differences. Today’s Fresh Start I Ching reading is perfectly timed for the New Year. It’s the beginning of the great Reset foreseen by those who watch the heavens (a term which the dark side can’t get away with co-opting in a futile attempt to bend the positive arc of history).
So. Yes, We’re in for a global Reset. It won’t happen overnight. Or in month. Or even year. A generation is more like it. But it starts NOW, with each of us, one person at a time, and from the inside out. The energies of the times are changing. We are becoming more aware. Not just of the political-cultural scene, but of the inner landscape which drives it.
The year 2021 promises to be rough, though different from 2020. The process of exposing the corruption of the old order will continue. But the clash between paradigms will intensify, imposing new hardships. Positive change doesn’t come easy. As Kuhn wrote in his classic work on paradigm shifts, entrenched power-holders with vested interests in obsolete ways will fight change however they can.
In particular, January of 2021 promises to be fraught with geographical and political events of explosive intensity. A heads up: astrological markings of January 20th, inauguration day, are strikingly similar to the date of the catastrophic 1916 San Francisco earthquake.
In sum, the year-of-our-Lord 2021 promises to be a roller-coaster ride. So buckle up. There’s no turning back. The only way out is through.
Take comfort in this. Come what may, those supported by wisdom traditions will meet our new set of challenges with the Phoenix Response, dying to be reborn better than before in the same lifetime.
We’re not taught to look to the Book of Change, the compendium of Natural Law, for answers. That’s why I’ve brought the book to you. Through the end of 2020, bi-weekly posts were intended make what was once unfamiliar now familiar.
TRAVEL is the initial answer to the question, “What should we be aware of on New Year’s Eve as we enter 2021?” It reads:
When you have outgrown a situation, it is time to TRAVEL on. Staying longer would prevent attainment of important goals. Commitments made now probably would not work out. In dealing with strangers exercise careful self-control. Talk little. Listen much. Learn from everyone who has information to share. Avoid dangerous exposure.
Most of us are glad to be done with a painfully challenging year. No looking back. However, it will be important to stay on high alert. More challenges lie ahead.
* * *
Advice of the fourth line reads, “Enjoy the process of growing day by day. Don’t rush.”
The future promises to be full of surprising twists and turns. Rather than try to second guess, don’t get ahead of yourself. Make the best of each day as it comes. Remain flexible.
When this advice is heeded the line changes to Stillness:
Peace within and harmony without come from STILLNESS. When immediate answers to important questions cannot be found, sometimes keeping still is the best way out. Burning desires produce chaotic thinking. This only clouds the issue and makes life painful. Meditation is a valuable method for finding stillness. Avoid useless activity.
During times of conflict and tension, inner balance must be restored with periods of quiet self-care. Conserve energy. Maintain inner focus and mental clarity. Don’t be distracted from purpose.
* * *
Advice of line five reads, “In a new situation, find the right way to make introductions.”
As we continue to forward into unknown territory, it’s important to continuously assess the situation and adjust quickly. Remember General Flynn’s comments. The Founders knew this country was an experiment. Of necessity, it must evolve. So keep an open mind. Look for new ways to accomplish worthy goals.
When this advice is heeded, it changes to Retreat:
RETREAT from negative forces which will begin to arise. Withdraw gracefully if possible. By doing this you can avoid embarrassment and thus pave the way for a safe and easy return when the time is right. Make careful arrangements to protect yourself from harm. Avoid becoming caught in hopeless situations.
Again, explosive events and hardships lie ahead. To the extent possible, stay out of harms way. Don’t provoke danger unnecessarily. Don’t engage in losing battles.
* * *
Following the advice of the original reading (avoid dangerous exposure) along with the advice of both changing lines (avoid useless activity; don’t get caught in hopeless situations) leads to the final, composite result — a Fresh Start. It reads:
Even when it seems that all has been spoiled, it is possible to make a FRESH START. Be willing to face your faults. Find out how to correct them. The situation will gradually improve if you are sincere and work hard. Be sure you know what you want. Avoid delay.
This final reading of 2020 reinforces the earlier theme of correcting mistakes and at-one-ment. No one said it would be easy. But keep the faith. It’s worth it.
Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon in January of 2021.
If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.
To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.
Okay, then. That’s all for now. Take care, all.