Tag Archives: Rethinking Survival

Cordial Greetings

Hello to Stefan Molyneux and Jordan Peterson.

This post, along with the companion blogs linked below, are my heartfelt response to Stefan’s passionate call for creative positive action, specifically in the most excellent discussion, Sorting Yourself Out.

I certainly agree with you that, world-wide, civilization as we know it is reaching the point of critical mass.

Not coincidentally, I have been working in parallel on the subjects of ethics, epistemology, personal freedom, and introspection – as well as their urgent relevance to human survival – for a very long time.

My particular contribution to your effort is a model that expands on your invaluable research, adding urgently needed depth. Practical tools I’ve acquired and developed could well serve to fortify your intellectual arsenals in the ongoing media battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.

Put another way, my work identifies an overlooked but fatal blind-spot in Western thinking. (I elaborate on this at length in a post called “The Gate Keeper.”) Suffice it to say here that unless/until we restore a complete and correct paradigm to common understanding, the downward spiral of history will continue on its course unchecked.

By way of introduction, I should tell you that though this contact may seem sudden and rather late in the game, in fact, I’ve foreseen the state of critical mass a long time coming, patiently waiting for the right time to come forward.

Proof of the timing is written into the concluding chapter of Rethinking Survival’s memoir section called “Who I Am To Say.”

I chose the introductory quote to underscore the fact that I’m not alone in subscribing to the premise of Rethinking Survival:

Curiosity, awareness, attention — those are the tools we need if we hope to avoid our worst mistakes — and indeed if our children are to have a future on this planet. We have come to a pass in our evolution where we all must, to one degree or another, be scientists at heart or be victims of forces we don’t understand. I am certainly concerned about our survival as individuals. But I am also concerned that if we don’t know the rules of our world — both the human and physical rules — we will be in danger collectively as well. Laurence Gonzales. Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

Between 2008 and 2009, I worked over-night third-shift hours at the Wisconsin Relay Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a Communications Assistant. Quiet times gave me the opportunity to outline a book proposal for Surviving Titanic Times:

It seemed ironic that the general public in some ways is as of hard of hearing as the deaf community. What, I wondered, will it take for the “conveniently” hard of hearing to open their ears, hear warnings of threats to their survival and build lifeboats in time?

I decided that before readiness is there, it’s smartest to keep a low profile. When immediate danger is actually on the front doorstep, it will finally become convenient for people to rethink their assumptions. Only then will the general public have an vested interest in heeding the warnings of boundary-spanners, making it safe for “non-traditional” thinkers to come forward. . . .

This is the upside of dark times. Extreme danger is a 2’x4′ sufficient to get people’s attention, wake them up to their true greatness — “the giant within.”

Most news reporters, along with the politicians and experts they interview, are products of the skewed educational system that has brought us to the brink. However, according to the maxim, “The larger the front, the larger the back,” times of gravest danger are when greatest opportunities for change arise.

Heroes emerge when the time calls. A new readiness to see what before was invisible can open new avenues of Positive Action. As Gonzales details, survivors remember their best qualities and have eye-opening epiphanies.

Quite possibly there’s a whole generation of true leaders, ruined professionally to shut them up, patiently biding their time. They’re hidden in society’s woodwork, waiting quietly with the patience of Chinese sages for the right time and opportunity to come forward, to tell their stories. They’ll educate those with an ear to hear about the fundamental rules of our world, as Gonzales calls them — not just social standards, but more fundamentally, the laws of nature — and help us find the way out of self-destructive madness.

I’ve taken the experience of journalist Dorothy Thompson, “the American Cassandra,” to heart. Reporting from Germany in the 1930’s, she found no one in the U.S. wanted to hear about Hitler’s menace . . . until Americans were galvanized into entering WWII. Then it became convenient to listen to her.

With patient forbearance, I heed the I Ching wisdom of Stillness:

52 Stillness

I remain confident that over time, quietness inevitably changes to its opposite. Stillness is fecund. It bears within it the latent seeds of future action. So it’s important to know when to be quiet, to listen to inner guidance that warns against danger. Then, when the time is right, you’ll know to be in the right place and how to take the right action.

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Here I will briefly tell you my basic premise, describe the Life Wheel in abstract, and then show how it can be set into motion and applied to specific situations. Out of infinitely possible examples, I refer to the youtube conversation to demonstrate how the Wheel works.

Here is the basic premise as stated in the Introduction to Rethinking Survival:

The Danger

Programmed assumptions too often drive our decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, misinformed people operating on conflicting beliefs destroy themselves and others. Sometimes the process is quick. Suicide. Murder. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.

The connection between skewed thinking and disastrous results is mirrored in the global disconnect between policy and practice. Knowledge deficits are directly responsible for bankrupt economies, personal and international alike.

In the United States, politicians of both parties use psychological scare tactics to polarize the public. They warn with phony threats, at the same time, putting all of us at risk. Like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, leaders alienate us with disgraceful partisan bickering. At the same time, they avoid the real dangers which threaten to burst the bubble of illusory progress with excruciating finality.

In sum: Just as the Titanic’s designers failed to recognize the ship’s fatal flaw, today’s religious and political leaders, acting on misinformation, are steering the planet ever closer to the brink of destruction. Presented here for the first time, the Positive Paradigm of Change offers the hopeful opportunity to rethink our collective future, shift away from the current collision course towards disaster and ensure human survival.

Building on this premise in The Positive Paradigm Handbook, I continued:

WHY PARADIGMS MATTER

Ideas drive results. People’s beliefs color their feelings, triggering basic emotions which in turn drive their actions.

Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity.

Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation.

As detailed in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change, a fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed.

Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other.

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Here then is the universal Life Wheel implicit (as detailed at length elsewhere) in the world’s enduring wisdom traditions. It is equally compatible with the discipline of yoga sutras and with modern physics. Formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change, it meets the Occam’s Razor standard of utmost simplicity with maximum inclusiveness.

PPoC gold

If gives us a complete and accurate model with which to sort out – articulate, organize and improve upon –- the levels and directions of our very complex lives. For, in fact, life – both personal and historical – is neither flat nor linear.

Here is a very early picture of how the interdependent but qualitatively different dimensions of life experience are related, prioritized and linked in the abstract.

II.05 Unity & Diversity

 

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In Sorting Yourself Out, Jordan Peterson compares the biblical example of Abraham’s “call to adventure” (and promise of exponential reward) to his intentional Self-Authoring process. It’s one example of what legendary comparative religion teacher Joseph Campbell called the “Hero’s Journey.” The cyclical, alpha-omega (but also inward) journey is also detailed by Clift and Clift in The Hero Journey in Dreams.

They tell us that journey starts with a call to adventure, followed by departure and initiation. These lead to sacrifice and suffering which in turn yields wisdom, then transformation and finally return to the world. We are told:

Dreams present one with symbols of transformation – the opportunity to expand one’s horizon. Painful experiences can be a great teacher – if one lets them. The hero is someone who has learned something, gained a new perspective.

Here, the stages of the Hero’s Journey are plugged into the Life Wheel, showing this multi-layered, dynamic process in motion. (N.B. This is not simply myth, but rather psychological necessity. We are each at one time or another in our lives – whether we choose to heed the call or not – invited to follow and complete the universal pattern.)

Hero's Journey

In essence, the Life Wheel is a Meta-Map. It forms the geometry of all Maps of Meaning, including the stories of not only the New and Old Testaments, but also Greek mythology and, significantly, the Bhagavad Gita.

A few examples of archetypal heroes from scriptural/literary history include Odysseus, Arjuna, Moses and Christ. Here (expanding on the narrow perspectives of secular atheists and religionists alike), is the dynamic Wheel which explains the ongoing presence/influence of the extraordinary teacher who told us, “Ye must be perfect like your Father.”

Saving the Best

The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change shows the way to use the Wheel as a multi-purpose tool of self-analysis and positive, personal change. We can apply it as a diagnostic and decision-making tool on any scale of magnitude – personal, organizational, or societal — marking investments of attention, time and effort over time (epochs) in various life sectors.

 

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Disastrously, the levels of the Life Wheel are becoming increasingly fragmented and out of synch in myriad ways. Here is just one example. It pictures what Stefan Molyneux repeatedly refers to as the increasing “hollowness” of communications. It equates with the incomplete paradigm of scientific materialism that recognizes only the reality of what is tangible and measurable.

Atheists rule out their awareness (though certainly not the functional existence) of inward levels of energy/emotions and intuition/light.

MaterialistAthest

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For the sake of brevity, additional applications must be addressed elsewhere. One post is already complete. Both Stefan and Jordan emphasize the importance of reasoned, critical thinking. This subject includes the highly political field of epistemology.

They also question of how to communicate their ideas to followers with Libertarian leanings. So a post on the interior level where innate Free Will resides as well as interrelated but qualitatively different levels of “freedom” is on the drawing board.

Stefan is a notable champion of ethics as foundational to viable civilizations. I agree heartily, and the post on the little known and gravely underrated Natural Law codified in the Chinese Book of Change (along with the implicit Law of Karma) supplies the insight/ammunition necessary to WIN this argument handily. Essentially, Freedom of Choice does not guarantee a free lunch. Far from it, it bears with it the responsibility to accept the inevitable Consequences of one’s choices. In this context, I’ve briefly introduced the MPI Standard for increasing self-awareness. The basic formula: Increase Awareness of What You are Doing, How and Why. Use the Wheel to articulate, prioritize and align the levels of Motive, Purpose and Intent.

CONCLUSION

I know this is a lot to take in. How can I be of help? Do you have questions or comments for me? If so, I’ll gladly respond to the thoughtful ones.

And, in balance, how might you help me? Let’s see. Value for value is the stated exchange. I used my 72nd birthday to write this post. As of now, writing is a low-priority hobby and working late hours takes a lot out of me. Lifestyle constraints are frustrating indeed. As food for thought along these lines, please take a peek at the mind-map of what could be materialized with this work if resources were made available.

With thanks for your kind attention and response, All best – Patricia West

 

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A Birthday Gift to YOU

 Gift

I’ve been busy working to keep promises made to you earlier.

In Under Construction, I outlined changes to rethinkingsurvival to occur over the summer months and into the fall.

Today, August 3, marks my 70th birthday. Yesterday, I was spontaneously offered a photo shoot to mark the occasion. Paying the birthday gift forward, I’ve made the results available to you. Along with comments, they are now posted on a new page called, logically, NEW PHOTOS. So that’s one promise kept. : )

The evening before that offer was made, I worked through the night to make good on my promise to make content of books about positive change available on the website. As a result, for starters, another four value-filled pages have been added for your viewing.

Each includes content from the keystone of the change series: The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change.

  • The second lists the Seven Axioms and Corollaries which follow from this complete and accurate but deceptively simple world view.
  • The third puts the Wheel into motion, showing how to create personalized Life Wheels that take you “from here to there.” It gives the practical tool and a step-by-step method for becoming an intentional agent of positive change, first in your own life and then in the world.
  • The fourth reveals the Mind Map that pictures where the work leads, including building intentional communities and saving as many lives as possible in Titanic Times.

This is just the start. Please stay tuned. There’s more to follow.

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Under Construction

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The way drivers from my state tell it, “Wisconsin has two seasons – winter and Under Construction.”

The month of June was living proof. The stretch of highway from home into Madison was an obstacle course of Road Work signs, hard hatters digging muddy trenches, and side-tracking detours.

The recent experience of driving this altered route wove itself into my thoughts about website changes, for I promised that it too will be under construction during summer months and into fall. (See My Worst Fear).  

Local highways and my writing path both reflect an uneasy tension between human planning and the ongoing assaults of natural forces. Engineers design roads to stand up under the wear and tear of daily traffic. But there’s more. Midwest roads are exposed to alternating extremes of hot and cold, not to mention floods and a wide assortment of spectacular storms. Under these pressures, erosion sets in. Even the best made roads start to buckle and crack. Pot holes begin to pock small town main streets, making for a bumpy ride.

Mental metabolism” is the writer’s equivalent of ongoing road maintenance. The physical body is built to take in food, digest it, assimilate the beneficial parts and eliminate the rest. The same goes for the mind. We are continuously assaulted by external influences. The people and events of our daily lives impact our thoughts and feelings. So do the dramas of politics, massacres and heart-wrenching suffering broadcast on the news.

Mental health – and quality writing – depends, among other things, on the ability to digest this information, incorporate what is useful, and delete the rest all the way out of the mental computer.

So back to the drawing board. Nothing extreme or overwhelming. Just small baby steps. Place one foot in front of the other, one steady step at a time, one day at a time, until I bring us back from temporary detours and onto a freshly repaired road.

As promised, after facing and walking through the fears which have kept me in writer’s limbo, here are a few of the significant website changes to come.

1. For a multitude of reasons, as time and resources permit, I intend to make the content of books sold through Amazon available on the website.

In particular, I wrote the personal part of Rethinking Survival so people could get to know the person behind the ideas. I told the story of how the working tools I have to offer evolved and the value I place on them. This (often fantastical) background puts ongoing posts in context.

I owe this information to readers who, without it, have drawn unjust conclusions. For example, it has been assumed that I must have been born to a family of well-off intellectuals or that I married into money to subsidize my writing.

Wrong. I grew up in a situation so complicated and confusing that, to survive, I clung to books. It started when I took literally what a librarian told the newly-orphaned six-year-old me – then living at the mercy of heartless relatives. “Books are your best friends.”

Books saved my life. They fed my insatiable curiosity and need for connection. The best of them gave me tools for thinking about how the world works and understanding my place in it. They confirmed my hopes. In their presence, I lived as a member of the community of minds that reaches out across the span of time, offering the best of human achievement to sustain the best part of me. And, as someone who believes in paying my debts, my life has been dedicated to paying that debt forward.

2. Immediate practical needs in combination with unfortunate experiences inside the shark-infested publishing world lead me to the following website solution.

Some background will help you understand where I’m coming from. I will be 70 in August. (The photo I use as my gravatar happens to be one of the only two I have. This is another misunderstanding to be corrected. Current photos are in the works and will be incorporated in the improved website.)

At the moment, my only income is a pittance of Social Security. Financial pressures increasingly keep writing output to bare minimum. I keep adding to the long list of useful and entertaining ideas which wait their turn on the drawing board, but don’t have the resources to complete as many as I’d like.

Up to this point, the website has been a one-person project, created with ingenuity, love and hours of effort, but on a zero-dollar budget. There’s no return from the books. Quality aside, I can’t afford to pay for the networks and machinery required to market them.

As a work-around, if you will, my solution is to add a “Donate” page to the website. Instead of paying for books, visitors will be given the option donate on an honor system of sorts, only if and as much as they can, depending on their perception of value received and anticipated. No pressure. Just an opportunity.

I will also request that, if the Handbook content (which so far I’ve kept secret to prevent theft) proves useful, readers link family and friends to the website, to magnify its potential influence.

3. In an effort to be more responsive to your concerns, I will expand the Contact Page to include an email address where visitors can forward confidential questions. Starting now, you are welcome to contact me at rethinkingsurvival@yahoo.com.

Under stern (and wise) advisement, I’ve relinquished grandiose desires to “save the world,” or even to finance physical Positive Action Communities (see the illustration labeled “Super-Objective” at the bottom of this page: https://rethinkingsurvival.com/handbook/ .)

Even so, I persist in day-dreaming about the possibilities inherent in intentional communities. For now, as a baby step, I satisfy myself with this known simplicity: “To save one life is to save the world entire.” Perhaps, by “thinking small,” it remains within the realms of the possible to build a small internet community of supportive like-minded thinkers. It would be qualitatively different from the LI self-promotional mind-set or WB’s adversarial smack-down approach. Instead, its basic mind-set will reside in our innate quest for self-awareness and a universal respect for life.

Just perhaps, together, we could begin the construction of another road less (but well) traveled.

 

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François Zuccheri

July 7, 2015, 7:54 AM

Patricia, I just got your email so I quickly skimmed your article. Will read and listen to it later tonight when solitude soothes. Just a question: does your site allow for other people [writers] to actually post their own articles related to your topic as opposed to just leaving a reply? Cheers.

ME:

Good question, François. Thanks for asking.

I‘ve thought about adding a GUEST POSTS page. So long as basic rules of the game – civility and relevance – are honored, I would welcome them. How these would be included becomes an administrative question. I’ll have to look into it.

Although hosting guest blogs would be a pleasure, it would require precious time and be an additional expense. One solution I’ve considered is looking into CrowdFunding. Another would be to make guest posting a privilege associated with paid membership. “Pay to play.”

Recently, a WB commenter took offence at the option to order books. He jumped to the contusion that money motivates me. But it takes an entitlement mentality to expect that I should give away the product of a lifetime of work, education, research, experience, etc. etc. for nothing. Even if I could afford to, it devalues the work. There’s some truth to the saying, You get what pay for. Something given away for nothing runs the risk of being valued accordingly.

ME Again:

François. It seems most readers quickly skim and leave it at that. I patiently await your careful “read and listen.” Wish others would take the trouble to do so as well. It’s worth it. : )

Prepare Now for Inevitable Shocks

Why would Millennials (or anyone else, for that matter) want to consult an ancient book that’s outside the familiar boundaries of what’s currently accepted for answers to survival questions? The answer is contained in the question. Expanding beyond limiting boundaries is essential to future survival.

Prevailing paradigms have brought the world to the brink of an NELC (Near Extinction Level Crisis). A better paradigm is urgently necessary. To repeat Einstein’s warning yet again, “It will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change introduces that qualitatively different manner of thinking. Four contrasting thought paradigms are pictured in an earlier blog. (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-a4.) Another, the Positive Paradigm of Change, translates the old-new I Ching world view into the yoga-compatible Unified Theory. It answers Einstein’s challenge in terms of his own work. It contains within it a seed of hope for generations to come.

Returning to the ongoing discussion, however, How will Millennials benefit from working with the Book of Change (or for that matter, The Positive Paradigm Handbook)? I hinted at the answer in “When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call?” There, the question is asked and answered: “On the day when the lights go out, what would happen to wiz kids dependent on their electronic toys? What use would their extreme investment in computer skills be then? The logical answer: None. Zip.” (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-cm.)

Millennials are reputed to depend exclusively on their peers for validation and support. Yet, like any other strength, when taken to extremes, this dependence has the potential to become their greatest weakness. If the noise generated by peer content blocks out inner guidance and prevents individuation, they’ll be in big trouble if/when immanent dangers oblige them to think for and depend upon themselves.

Here’s the larger context, a picture of connections on many levels, joined in an infinite loop. The unique value of the I Ching is that serves to give access to the neglected, innermost sphere which we’ll all eventually need to draw upon for inner strength. Here’s where working with the Book of Change can make all the difference. It gives uninitiated users the direct experience of that neglected, inner connection.

Connections

In answer to my query, the book’s benefit to Millennials is Hexagram 58, INSPIRATION, with changing lines in the third and fifth places. It reads:

When minds are moved by INSPIRATION, nothing is impossible.

Misunderstandings can be cleared up,

problems solved and hardships overcome.

Inspired speakers can move others

to acts of heroism by well-chosen words.

Reminding people of their common goals

and deepest desires

gives them the courage to continue.

Two changing lines modify and transform the initial answer. The third line reads, “Sharpen mental discrimination. Refuse temptations that lead to destructive consequences.” I’m understanding that even inspiration cannot be depended upon exclusively. It requires the balancing faculty of reason to ground intuition and keep priorities in perspective.

The intermediate change that results from the warning is Hexagram 43, DETERMINATION. It advises “If you approach the situation with DETERMINATION, you can now overcome problems that have held you back in the past.” It also stipulates, “Avoid solving problems by force.”

The changing line in the fifth place warns, “Be careful in whom you place your trust. Avoid sorrow.” It changes to Hexagram 54, SUPPORT.

The outcome of the two combined changing lines is Hexagram 51:

SHOCK

Violent movement creates SHOCK.

To prepare yourself to face external disasters calmly,

face your personal fears first. Then nothing can shake you.

Sudden changes will become challenges which test your strength.

Carry on with your daily life but expect major shifts.

Develop the will to endure.

In sum, the sequence leads me to this conclusion. Openness to Inspiration will increase awareness of the need to prepare for shocking, external disasters. Even while carrying on with daily life, it’s important to anticipate major shifts. This resonates with the earlier blog on Change, which also emphasizes prepping. “The unprepared see change as a threat, but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly.”

So, what specifically does the Common Sense Book of Change have to offer the Millennial generation? For starters, the Inspiration to anticipate shocking changes and the determination to meet external disasters calmly.

Naturally, there’s much more. But it will have to wait for next time.

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WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

After months of over nights engrossed in writing Rethinking Survival, the kaleidescope has turned. Time to put on another hat. It’s now or never. Give form to thought. First I produced the Kindle version and now the paperback edition. Quite a strenuous project. A friend likened it to giving birth.

Tonight, Friday, December 27th of the waning year 2013, I’m waiting for final approval of the submitted book. How, then, do I announce this new arrival? It’s full of hope for the New Year, yet so fragile in its uncertain future.

When I draw on my memory banks for the best way to describe my concern, I’m remembering a powerful experience from Oberlin years. It was the mid 1960’s. I was a college Freshman. The occasion was a performance of Brahm’s A German Requiem.

I was seated towards the back of the upper balcony in Finney Chapel. This 19th century, church-like assembly hall was fitted with wooden pews and a large front stage. The Conservatory Orchestra and College Choir were seated up front. The chapel was filled to capacity with a mix of students, faculty and “townies.”

The Requiem wasn’t new to me. As a member of the Festival Choir at Interlochen’s National Music Camp, I’d actually participated in an earlier concert. So the power of the music was reinforced with memories of intense rehearsals.

The unforgettable, dirge-like opening weighs on the soul with its ponderous message of mortality. ” . . . all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man like flowers. The grass withers and the flower falls.”

But at Oberlin, I had the misfortune to be seated behind a clique of music students. (Conservatory students called their building the Con. We called them “Connies.”) They were remarkably oblivious to the solemnness of the Requiem. Throughout, they showed off their cleverness by critiquing the performance. In stage whispers, hissing derogatory remarks. A soloist’s pitch was off. The conductor’s tempo was too slow.

However, right next to them, ignoring the Connies entirely, sat a single listener, engrossed in his attention to the music. His right elbow rested on the pew before me, his hand resting on his chin, as if deep in thought. I could actually hear his wind-up wristwatch ticking in time to the morbid music. It took my breath away. It seemed as if the watch was in synch with the Brahms, confirming the shortness of human life on Earth. The countdown clock was ticking for those with an ear to hear.

Were the Connies rude? That was the least of it! They’d totally missed what Brahms had labored to communicate to us from an earlier century. What a loss.

Were they correct in their technical assessments? Maybe, so far as it went. I wouldn’t know. Because I was listening for the music, not the mistakes. This was my choice.

I made this decision at Interlochen while attending student concerts there. On the one hand, I realized, I could listen with my physical ears, focusing on the limitations of amateur musicians. But that approach would have driven me crazy. I’d have made myself miserable.

On the other hand, I could listen with the heart. I could open myself to what the composer heard with the inner ear and done his best to express in the language of music. I could admire the energy of enthusiastic, sincere students who loved the music and were doing their very best, however imperfectly, to measure up to it. That was the beneficial path of gratitude and enjoyment.

In the English language, we use the same word for both the piece of paper upon which physical notes are printed . . . the sheet music . . . and for the music itself. In contrast, in the German language of the Requiem, two different words are used to distinguish between the notation and the actual sound.

Just so, I agreed with myself not to worry so much for the technical notes, but instead to focus on the actual music. I chose to listen with the inner ear to hear what the composer intended and what merely human musicians labored to recreate. Here Brahms was reminding us with his dark, brooding music that mankind, as numerous as blades of grass on the face of the earth, is perilously mortal. Like flowers, all human greatness ultimately comes to naught.

But the Connies missed it in their chit chat, hearing only with their physical ears.

This memory serves to illustrate the choices available for approaching Rethinking Survival. It’s my best hope that readers will meet me half way — that they’ll focus not on the book’s technical mistakes but on its substance and value. This book is about survival in the very literal sense of the term. And like the Requiem, it balances short-term warnings with long-term hope. Brahms completes his reminder of mortality with the confirmation of immortality: “The word of the Lord endures for eternity.” Rethinking Survival mirrors this balance.

In short, what I’m offering is the very best I could do given limited time and finite resources. For the sake of the message, I urge readers to forgive an imperfect messenger for the sake of the message. Because what you see is what you get — either a powerful paradigm or a less than perfect physical book. Your choice.

 

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