Tag Archives: Patton

Half-Brained is Half-Assed: Put the Yin Back into Your Yang Decisions

In the year 2000, I wrote a dozen Essay Sketches on Positive Action. I’m just now getting back to them. They emphasize the urgent necessity of restoring right-brain balance to left-brain decision-making. Put the other way around, they identify what has gone terribly wrong in the world for lack of this balance.

The first sketch identifies the origins of linear-thinking stereotypes:

ONLY THE TRUTH, PLEASE!

Leading imagination to the single source, the poetry of scriptures describes subtle experience in familiar terms.

Great harm comes from taking metaphors literally. Timeless truths are misconstrued to rationalize bigotry. Nature’s complimentary polarities, masculine and feminine, light and dark have wrongfully been limited to physical characteristics and then attached to moral judgments: “good” and “bad.”

Males are deemed categorically good; females are exclusively bad. Light-skinned people are supposedly good; dark-skinned ones aren’t.

Nothing could be further from scriptural intent. Complements play equally vital parts in the music of life as interdependent aspects of a perfect whole. We are all wired with the same AC/DC (yin and yang) energy circuitry.

What is evil is separations within or without. Liberate scriptures from literal-minded abusers.

The second sketch builds on the first:

HALF-BRAINED IS HALF-ASSED

Indiana Jones blends the best of right and left brain worlds. He and Nazi opponents search out the arc of the covenant, then the grail. The enemy wants the key to world domination; Indy and his beloved father seek “illumination.” They not only study ancient civilizations, but adventure to recover hidden treasures. To become a Jedi knight, Luke SkyWalker trains to attune himself to “the force.”

Intellectuals who contempt practical people and workers who despise the educated are equally half-brained incompetents. Divided we fall prey to the dark side. For positive results, well-educated scholars and street-smart front-liners fighting the war that counts in inner city trenches and rural outposts must join ranks. Patton, the general who stopped Hitler, quoted scriptures like a bishop, knew Shakespeare’s verse by heart.

These sketches explains why, in today’s hectic world. working with the Book of Change has extraordinary value. It is the time-tested method for restoring the balance of calm, quiet, introspective right-brain “knowing” to aggressive, materialistic left-brain analysis.

How have we come to rule out this integral part of existence, the hidden half which completes our whole-brain potentials?

Einstein called it the “fateful fear of metaphysics.” Physics – what is physical and observable — is real. In addition, however, the intangible which rests beyond or within us is equally real. As Einstein was well aware, that which is deeper than physics – meta-physics – complements and completes the tangible.

In early works, I pictured the integral levels of experience in this way:

Flux & Stability

Without this right-brain balance in our decision-making, we are but half of what we could and should be. Often, we function in ignorance of and against the grain of our own best interests.

Here is the picture of a divided world view where the language of poetry, taken literally, results in divisive stereotypes.

II-10 rev

As such, those of us who live in a world designed and dictated by the rules of empirical science are at a terrible loss. We have been programmed (“educated”) rule out every part of experience, however, real, which cannot be seen and touched, measured and quantified.

According to Swiss analyst Carl Jung, this either/or world view places intangibles outside of our conscious reach. Nevertheless, buried, overlooked and forgotten, they still continue to influence us, but from the “unconscious” parts of our mind.

Jung had much to say about this loss:

Our time has committed a fatal error; we believe we can criticize the facts of religion intellectually. . . The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.

Jung understood that restoring health and common sense to our world could be gained by methods which make the unconscious conscious. The Book of Change is a premier method for accomplished this goal. It’s no accident that Jung was instrumental in restoring the first genuinely usable English translation to the West. He actually wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching.

The Common Sense Book of Change continues in this tradition, for the same purpose. It simplifies the scholarly approach, making this treasure accessible to anyone with basic English language reading skills and an open heart, free of irrelevant and unnecessary sexist, elitist language.

So, this is critically important. It’s time to make yourself whole. If you haven’t already, put the yin balance back into your yang decisions.

Tai Chi Tu

 

Be a Warrior, NOT a Monster

Here I must make an exception to my usual rule, “Take the best. Leave the rest.”

As a reminder, here’s the Take the Best standard:

In reading opinion and even “how to” pieces, I recommend the 30/70 principle. With careful attention and a little bit of luck, it’s possible to extract the 30-percent value from the 70-percent rubbish in which its embedded.

At Oberlin, where I had the good fortune to attend college, this process was described in agricultural terms: “sifting and winnowing.” Founders probably had a biblical allusion in mind: the end-time sorting of wheat from chaff.

Were it not so over-used, “discrimination” in its original meaning would be another way to put it.

From Rethinking Survival:

I’ve come to recognize that it’s ideas — usually unconsciously held in the form of automatic-pilot, programmed assumptions — which drive decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, people who operate on incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting beliefs undo themselves and harm others .. .

Sadly, I now recognize that Jordan B. Peterson is no exception. On one point in particular, he is dead and dangerously WRONG!

He claims that everyone is a potential monster. Each of us, in certain circumstances, would behave no differently than sadistic Nazi prison guards.

Here, briefly, is how he arrived at that conclusion. He recognized that potential in himself. In reading Jung, he came to mistakenly equate the experience of evil impulses with the “unconscious” shadow side of the human psyche. Ergo, since we all are in part unconscious, we are all in part evil.

Now, his experience of cruel impulses and his buying into Jung’s confusions about the “shadow” are his own personal problems.

I draw the line, however, when he uses his bully pulpit as professor and now media rock star to mislead sincere young people (primarily men). Like the Evil Emperor, he is seducing potential heroes like Luke Skywaker to the dark side of the force.

He asserts as if undeniable fact that we are all intrinsically capable of evil. To deny the dark, shadow, evil side of oneself is self-deception. It is foolish and naive – the mark of victims.

This assumption is so repugnant to me that I asked for OA’s opinion. He shook his head, No. Sadistic Nazi guards, he said, were the ones who as young boys tore the wings off flies and tortured their pet dogs. To the contrary, for example, forensic researchers who studied the remains of America’s Civil War battlefields found that frequently, dead soldiers carried fully loaded weapons on their bodies. Killing a fellow human being was apparently so unacceptable that they preferred to go down without firing a shot. That’s closer to the “norm.”

Yet Dr. Peterson insists on instructing students that they must accept and integrate into their personalities evil (a.k.a. the shadow dark side) as part of their essence. I say, NO! Light is our true and universal essence. To repeat from Be an Instrument of Light:

God is not and could not possibly be dead.

Being made in the image of God,

YOU are the living proof of God’s existence.

The truth cannot be altered. Each of us is the embodied form of a musical instrument. Even if, for any multitude of reasons, your light is switched off right now, you still have the innate potential to conduct electricity (energy, prana, chi) that in turn transforms into light.

The problem lies in the abuse of God-given Free Will. Perversions of our essential nature – including gratuitous cruelty – are the cumulative result of bad decisions made over a very long period of time.

Dr. Peterson’s way to prevent acting out evil is to “tell the truth.” But what does he mean by truth? Does it mean point an accusatory finger outwards towards others to expose their faults? Exposing problems within human institutions?

Or does he point the finger inwards towards his own (and by extension, everyone’s) limitations? Admitting fears, rage, resentments and malevolent intentions driven by envy and greed is NOT divine Truth – certainly not the truth intended when Christ said, I am the Truth and the Way. Far from it.

OA calls identifying with personal limitations “Honest Bullshit.” The Herculean solution is to clean out the Aegean horse stables – releasing negativity to restore underlying, fundamental, universal Truth. Clean out the inner emotional swamp. Just as sculptors chip away at a block of stone to reveal the figure hidden within it, so true teachers show us how to shed human dross and release inborn greatness.

This admittedly “hyper-verbal” professor is fiercely passionate, apparently sincere and highly entertaining in the delivery of false ideas. His personal magnetism – his manly panache – distracts away from critical analysis.

Here’s why I make my exception to the Take the Best rule. While I appreciate the value of Dr. Peterson’s  work, this one point is too dangerous to give a pass. It’s one thing to admit his potential for malevolence. That’s between him and God.

It’s quite another to thing say that, by extension, because he has cruel tendencies, EVERYONE does. That cruelty is innate — part of our essence. DEAD WRONG. Worse, he says we should actually cultivate it in ourselves as if owing it is the only way to recognize it and thereby prevent being victimized. “Be the baddest ass on the block to scare off wanna-be bullies.”

Dr. Peterson holds Disney’s Simba, the Lion King, up as an example to follow. Simba grows into a King, all right. King of the beasts. But there’s much much more to humans than that bestial component! Worse, he repeatedly states that you must develop your inner monster – your inner psychopath – grow TEETH, as if two wrongs make a right. NOOOOO. Two wrongs do not make a right. To the contrary, they magnify and compound the depths of evil.

Quite simply, Jung was probably advising us to make the unconscious conscious. Fine. Granted. But this process has nothing to do with mistakenly integrating hidden demons into our personality. Nor does it sanction acting them out. I doubt this Dr. Peterson’s intention. But it’s too easy, out of context, to misconstrue his meaning.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I think what Dr. Peterson intends to recommend is that we become WARRIORS. Fierce. Competent. Able to protect ourselves and others from seductive evil.

That I can identify with and wholeheartedly recommend. In fact, it’s a frequent theme.

OA . . . described the necessary role of a “righteous warrior,” one who has the back of true peace makers. A farmer plows his field, plants and harvests his crops. He teaches his children, loves his family, and mends his fences. Day in and out, he does whatever it takes to support those he loves. And when an enemy approaches his gate, he defends them with his life. It’s all woven into the single fabric of life.

And what protections against monstrousness does a righteous warrior bring to the ongoing battles of daily life? The weapons of light – the equivalent of Luke Skywalker’s light saber, designed to defeat darkness. Members of every American military branch know this. They choose wisely, every day, living by scripture, making incrementally correct choices in every area of their lives.

They live, for example, by Psalm 91, Psalm 144, and Ephesians 6: 10-18.

The opening verse of Psalm 91 offers a radically different understanding of “the shadow.” It is worth your careful thought:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The opening verse of Psalm 144 is also an eye-opener:

Blessed be the Lord my strength

which teacheth my hands to war,

and my fingers to fight:

Warriors for countless generations have suited up for battle in the full armor of God described in Ephesians.

righteous warrior

 

11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15.  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16.  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18.  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints . .

This is the tradition which Jesus, as a practicing Jew who kept the sabbath, told us he came to fulfill.

Now, Dr. Peterson is rightly obsessed with how to stop genocides from recurring. Hitler, Stalin and Mao might well be precursors of far worse in the works. He’s got the problem right. But solutions remain where they have been since the times of Moses and later, King David:

Dr. Peterson is looking to Abraham right now, possibly because he was the progenitor of three major religions currently engaged in mutual self-destruction.

But I’m more interested in King David, who, like Christ was born in Bethlehem, and who as young shepherd was anointed by the prophet Samuel as future king. The point in time that’s appropriate to us now, I think, is the confrontation between the boy David and the giant Goliath. Today, this might represent individuals of good will in the face of impending totalitarian global government.

What’s important here is that David exemplifies acting from a complete and accurate paradigm. He acted fearlessly on the belief that “God is with me.” With a single shot to the center of the giant’s forehead (not coincidentally seat of the third eye), he brought the monster down.

David trusted that he was not alone. He “knew” exactly where to aim. His vision was clearly focused on his target (light). He had the vigor (energy) and physical strength (mass) as well as coordination (unity) to overcome the fearsome obstacle that threatened to annihilate him and enslave his people.

It is surely no accident that Patton, the general who stopped Hitler, quoted scriptures like a bishop, knew Shakespeare’s verse by heart.

To repeat,

What’s needed now, OA told me, isn’t pacifists. Trying to reason with an evil enemy is like pissing on a forest fire. What we need now is a generation of warrior monks. Though they serve wisely, with peace in their hearts, at the same time they’re ever alert – competent to protect against intruders, whatever the level.

OA continued, People misconstrue the words, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” No fault or prohibition is implied. A soldier who fights for a living hopes to retire and die in bed. A righteous warrior, however, fights the good fight right up to the last breath. It isn’t a reproach to say he’ll die by the sword. Standing firm in his truth even to the very end earns him an honorable and worthy death.

Phoenix - sized

Here’s a hint. Though not an excuse, Dr. Peterson’s metaphysical /logical insufficiencies are the symptomatic, even  inevitable result of operating from an incomplete, flat and linear false paradigm. It is highly unlikely he would make the same recommendations if he were better in-formed. Were he operating from the complete Life Wheel, he would better understand where Truth resides, what unconscious shadows are about, and how monsters are made.

He owes it to himself, his beloved family, and the countless fans who hang on his every word to get it right.

Angel Calling

 

 

 

Rethinking ACTION

One of the 64 Essays on Change is posted each consecutive Sunday. The choice is decided either by requests made on the Contact Page and/or immediate relevance to current events. See the UPSG Essays page for a description of the structure-within-structure format of the Essays, an overview of CONSCIENCE: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide, and an alphabetical list of the Essays from which to choose.

On the new moon of March 9, 2014, the first of the Essays to be posted was Number 61 on PEACE. It was selected as a timely response to events in the Ukraine. The following Sunday, the very first Essay, CRIME, was selected, followed by its companion Essay Number 18 on MOTIVES.

The final Essay, Number 64 has been selected for Sunday, March 30th, the second new moon in the month of March. It completes a triad that started with CRIME, then MOTIVES, and now, consequent ACTION. This Essay has immediate applications to the progression of world events.

Bloggers have likened Putin’s actions to the strategy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. America’s leaders have been faulted for lacking the ability to think in terms of positive action responses. It therefore behooves everyone, everywhere with an eye to the future, in the interests of human survival, to fill in that void.

globe

64. ACTION

“Military action is important to the nation — it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it. . . The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership, so that they will share death and share life, without fear of danger.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The warrior is always alert. He is always awake. He knows how to focus his mind and his body. He is what the samurai call “mindful.” . . . As a function of his clarity of mind, he is a strategist and a tactician. He can evaluate his circumstances accurately and then adapt himself to the “situation on the ground.” — Moore & Gillette, The Warrior in His Fullness

“We cannot stop the seasons of history, but we can prepare for them. Right now, in 1997, we have eight, ten, perhaps a dozen more years to get ready. Then events will begin to take choices out of our hands. Yes, winter is coming, but our path through the winter is up to us. . . History’s howling storms can bring out the worst and best in a society.” — Strauss & Howe, The Fourth Turning

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines action on a sliding scale of meanings. Taking in the full spectrum as a whole is an eye-opener. Originally it was a physics concept, the state of being in motion. From there the definition changes to habitual conduct characterized by energy and boldness. It changes again to include the effect produced by something (like a drug), or the way organs or machines work.

Action is used to describe the function of a piano or a gun. It shifts to take on the connotation of a legal proceeding by which one seeks to have a wrong put right. It’s the term used to describe military combat. Lastly, in slang it denotes excitement, specifically gambling.

Over a life-time, novelist Earle Stanley Gardner worked to develop a best-seller formula: a virtuous hero whom everyone loves to see in action. The result, Attorney Perry Mason, solves crimes and puts wrongs right in the court of law. He’s a deliberate blending of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. Robin defended the betrayed and down-trodden. He took from the rich to give to the poor, helping them stand against oppressors. Sherlock used his highly trained powers of observation and deduction to trace devious crimes to the unseen hand of the evil Moriarty, then courageously drew the villain out to defeat him.

New law students are often grieved to find reality so far removed from fiction. Just so. Gardner knew people bought his books exactly because they longed for what’s missing in their lives. But fiction soothes without solving. The times call for a multitude of Positive Perrys taking positive action every day, here and now.

Movie action heroes also exemplify the intellect-action blend of leadership we miss. To become a Jedi knight, Luke SkyWalker first must train to attune himself to “the force.” Indiana Jones similarly blends the best of right and left brain worlds. Both he and Nazi opponents search out the arc of the covenant, then the grail. The enemy wants the key to world domination; Indy and his beloved father seek “illumination.” They respect the wisdom of ancient times and adventure to recover lost treasures. The I Ching is another of the ancient lost treasures, both used and abused by seekers through the ages.

Unlike these action heroes, intellectuals who contempt practical people and workers who enviously mistrust the educated are equally lop-sided actors. For positive results, scholars and street-smart frontliners must join ranks. Better still, we should each train ourselves like action hero role models to balance self-awareness and action, to live fully effective, each in our own way.

George S. Patton, the general who defeated Hitler’s army, quoted scriptures like a bishop, knew Shakespeare’s verse by heart.

THE BACK

The opposite of action is inaction. This may be appropriate. Those who patiently wait also serve. Other times it’s due to indifference or paralysis of will. Procrastination, delaying action, may be a result of ambivalence. Lack of commitment or conflicting goals and beliefs often work unconsciously to sabotage consistent action.

A perversion of action is hyperactivity, sometimes the result of a chemical imbalance, other times an effort to avoid thinking. Restricting youthful energies, forcing children to sit too long inactive, can trigger rebellion as an extreme and opposite reaction to boredom.

————

  • Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Thomas Cleary. (Shambhala: Boston, 1988.) p. 41.
  • Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, “The Warrior in His Fullness,” in The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion & Discipline, ed. Rick Fields. (Putnam’s Sons: New York, 1994.) pp. 29-30.
  • William Strauss & Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. (Broadway Books: New York,1997.) p. 7.