Tag Archives: Shakespeare

What’s Your Answer to Hamlet’s Existential Question?

The last post, How Do You Define GOOD, opened with a basic law of nature: in duality, every coin has two sides. “Whatever has a front, has back. The larger the front, the larger the back.” It  explains why surface appearances are often deceiving.

I bring the Two Sides Law up here again in answer to comments from a recent LinkedIn post, To Be or Not To Be PC? There, political correctness was defended:

PC is often viewed incorrectly, fundamentally it is a collective societal attempt to correct social inequity – the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

I responded:

Understood . . . As an Ed Admin grad student, I wrote a paper for a law seminar on Affirmative Action. I observed that, however worthy the goals, the legislation missed the point. Not only was it unenforceable. It would trigger backlash. Which in time proved to be a correct assessment. I recommended Positive Action as a viable alternative for achieving the legislation’s worthy goals then — and still do. The surface definition of PC is, of course, impeccable. But applications and abuses have drifted so far afield from the verbal window dressing and original intent as to be unrecognizable. “Good intentions . . . “

These days, when promises seem too good to be true, I instinctively know they’re a ruse — a cover for something opposite and equally awful. A Shakespearian observation captures the gist. “Methinks he doth protest too much.”

“Change we can believe in?” “Social equity?” Methinks such slogans are market-tested veneer, engineered by behind-the-scenes puppet-masters to tap into and exploit our deepest desires and highest aspirations. They mask political agendas that have nothing whatsoever to do with seductive but empty wrappers. When politicians protest too much, you can depend on their front being a cynical cover for unacceptable, unspeakable motives.

To Be or Not To Be PC

Remember Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid? After Daniel wins the tournament, John Kreese, abusive Sensei of Cobra Kai, corners Miyagi in the parking lot and swings at him twice.

Miyagi simply ducks. Kreese misses, smashing first one fist and then the other through a parked car window, shattering the glass and lacerating both hands.

In Karate Kid III, Kreese calls on a Vietnam war buddy to act as the agent of his revenge. Treacherous but slick, Terry Silver, wealthy owner of a toxic waste disposal corporation, confuses Daniel to the point of self-destruction. Daniel mistakes his best friend for his enemy, and vice versa.

“Have no mercy,” was Kreese’s creed.

Silver gives Daniel three rules for winning an unfair fight. First, “If a man can’t stand, he can’t fight. So break his knees.”

Second, “If a man can’t breathe, he can’t fight. So break his nose.”

Third, “If a man can’t see, he can’t fight. So gouge out his eyes.”

That brings us back to the theme of an earlier post, “Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game.” The progressive/atheist Rules of the Politically Correct Game prevent believers (along with those they try to control) from being able to see and take a positive stand against evil.

PC advocates confuse the public, presenting true friends of the people as enemies, and vice versa. Even the existence evil is cast into doubt. It’s quibbled away in double-talk speculations, relegated to the fringes of speculative theory – outside the “accepted” rules of what can be known.

By PC standards, the concept of evil is demeaned, presumed to be a moralistic, judgmental, prejudiced fiction. This is a Yes and No. But denying the existence of evil by an exclusively materialistic standard prevents believers from being able to see grave danger, name it and protect from it – much less fight intelligently and successfully against it.

Is there method to this madness? Take a moment to think about it. Who stands to benefit from this blindness? Who stands to lose?

This picture of the PC problem may help:

Can't See.sized

Here’s how the Motive/Purpose/Intent (MPI) standard – the Why/How/What – applies to Daniel’s situation. He sees the surface What of Mr. Miyagi’s refusing to train him for another karate event. He compares it to Silver’s sly What – an all-too-eager willingness to act has his trainer.

What Daniel doesn’t know because he can’t see them are the underlying intangibles. Mr. Miyagi doesn’t support the fight because there’s no worthy Purpose. His Motive is to protect Daniel’s best interests. In contrast, Silver has set Daniel up to fight, even pressured him into entering the contest. But his ulterior Motive (the Why) is to exact revenge. His Purpose (the How) is to defeat and humiliate Daniel as painfully as Kreese was beaten, breaking Miyagi’s heart in the process.

Details. But important ones. For lack of inner awareness, Daniel was steered into a world of hurt. As are we all in similar circumstances.

Here’s another example of confusions resulting from operating on limited and limiting PC rules taken taken directly from an ongoing LinkedIn discussion in the New Philosophy Network. The thread is called HOW DO YOU DEFINE EVIL?

I entered the discussion, thinking my viewpoint would be interesting, perhaps even helpful, by offering this comment:

I’ve written to this subject, so let me sum up a few basics from my perspective. First, morality is technically an ephemeral social construct at the surface of the Life Wheel, whereas virtues (compassion, including kindness, gentleness, courage, etc.) are inherent potentials residing at the middle level of the Wheel. Evil in Positive Paradigm context is defined as destructive acts or intentions which violate the integrity of the whole, the aim of destroying the life pattern itself. If there’s further interest, pictures and explanations are available online. Pls. see http://wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B (“How Bad People Become Leaders”).

There were two responses. One dismissed the definition as a bit obtuse. The other seemed like a back-handed compliment – condescending, perhaps flirtatious. Thanks Patricia, nice and simple for a simple mind like me to understand. I would love to read some of your books 🙂

Not sure what to make of this, I reviewed many of the 523 comments posted over the past 24 days. They were sickening, both literally and figuratively.

The opening statement, made by medical doctor and research scientist, is this:

Christians condem anyone who does not follow their beliefs to live forever in Hell ( the bosom of all evil) , Fundamentalist followers of Islam believe everyone who does not follow their beliefs are evil and condem them to death via evil attrocities, Other religions have gods to protect them against evil, and gods to explain evil. Society explains evil through Freudian concepts of psycopathy and sociopathy. It would seem that evil is perpetuated by intolerance of other peoples beliefs?
And is this not the basis of human conflict throughout all history? What are your philosophical views on this concept?

(Turns out, it’s the platform for promoting a forthcoming book.)

But a wide range of contributors — atheists, agnostics and theists – chime in. The first comment reads, Evil is just anything contrary to the norms of the one judging and no more. The concept rests on inauthentic or authoritarian thinking.

A “top contributor” takes it upon himself to moderate the discussion, repeating the same mantra, straight out of the PC progressive handbook – evil is what effectively undoes or blocks any progress to greater purposeful complexity and abundance.

Suffice it to say, the level of discourse quickly degenerates into a testosterone-saturated, contentious and extraordinary disrespectful exchange. “Childish” comes to mind. The troll word is thrown back and forth. On the defensive, one commenter states:

I would prefer your responses were less transparently hostile (and as abusive of metaphor as you have accused me of being, I suspect to win the point). : ) I am not a member of any sort of ‘guys’ and my pants are on.

One remark criticizes the self-nominated moderator: Your sarcasm is showing; you should at least try a little to be more balanced, your post is so one-sided and shows such negative bias you should be embarrassed at the lack of balance. It’s so unbalanced it reminds me of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. . . .

To some extent, I empathize with the deep, underlying frustration. They’re struggling inside the box of dysfunctional paradigms. Trapped as if in a Japanese wicker-woven finger-prison, the harder they struggle to get out, the stucker they get. They sense that somewhere, somehow, something is terribly wrong – but without a comprehensive paradigm, they have no way to identify the heart of the problem much less find positive solutions.

I’ll speak further to important issues from this heated discussion in the next post, “The Great Reconciliation.” But here, the subject remains defining evil.

In “How Bad People Become Leaders,”I offered another picture, defining “evil” as anti-life: intentionally shattering and fragmenting the creative pattern. In Positive Paradigm context, the intentions and actions of any person (or group) that destroys its own and/or threatens to annihilate enemy groups, devoid of respect for the inherent sanctity of life, are defined as evil.

In metaphysical circles, by the way, in addition to extremes of black and white magic, there are shades of gray and yellow, depending on the extent of harm done and degree of intentionality.

In Karate Kid III, the central villain runs a toxic waste disposal business – an apt metaphor for abusive defenders of toxic PC ideas and attitudes! Why do I take such exception to PC “ideologies?” Because misleading, dysfunctional paradigms are life-threatening, a danger even to human survival itself.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the procrastinating prince debates the suicide option: To be or not to be, that was his question. He waivers and philosophies right up the the 11th hour. As a consequence, in the final act, the stage is littered with bodies – not only his, but also others whom he might have saved.

If rules of the knowledge game prohibit the general population from seeing genuine evil clearly for what it is and if they inhibit us from standing firm against it, they effectively prevent us from protecting ourselves and those we love from it’s toxic, destructive effects. In the name of tolerance, PC progressives pretend to be the best friends of minorities and women. In practice, they function as worst enemies. As a first step, would-be survivors must restore a full-spectrum reality map that allows them to recognize who’s who, and what’s what.

To be or not to be, asked Hamlet. That is the question. Today, to be or not to be PC is the burning issue. Whether to commit national, even global suicide through ignorance, or to WAKE UP to existing dangers of Titanic proportion and take a positive stand – while there’s still precious time left.

Don’t Blame the Stars – the Fault is in False Paradigms

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Last week, driving down hilly country roads, listening to the radio, I chanced upon an NPR interview with John Green, author of the wildly popular book — now a movie — The Fault in Our Stars. He said he spent years writing, alone in his basement, going, “Marco, Marco, Marco.” And then, finally, a response: “Polo!”

Green has reworked for Millennials the archetypal story of star-crossed lovers that has resonated with theater-goers ever since Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In 1970, Love Story, ar tear-jerking tragedy of youthful lovers separated by cancer, was a box office hit.

In 1997, the same archetype catapulted the movie Titanic to world-wide success. Here, lovers rich and poor crossed social boundary lines, only to be separated by calamity and death.

Why is that archetype so powerful? Wherein lies its power to move us? What is the deeper prescient chord it strikes that is common to everyone, everywhere? Because there’s much more to the scenario than just young love and social differences.

It speaks to us at a deeper level. Especially in Titanic, we respond subliminally, not only with a painful awareness of our own mortality, but also an inner foreboding – foreknowledge, if you will — that even as we continue to heedlessly pursue our individual wants, the mother ship of planet Earth is speeding on a collision course towards disaster.

While each individual faces the certainty of physical death, far worse, we’re now faced with the possibility of collective extinction as well.

Importantly, however, Green’s title, The Fault in Our Stars, isn’t taken from Romeo and Juliet. The quote comes from a Shakespearean tragedy about political intrigue, betrayal and assassination: Julius Caesar. The scheming nobleman Cassius tells his co-conspirator: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

On the surface level, Hazel and Augustus, Green’s cancer-stricken protagonists, may regard their cancers as the separating enemy at fault. But just as there are many kinds of physical cancers, there are deeper ones to blame for the larger tragedies that threaten humanity on a planetary scale.

The same ego-driven madness expressed by Cassius drives leaders today too, escalating the advance of wordwide oppression.

According to The Positive Paradigm Handbook, the megalomaniac urges that motivate many politicians and corporate executives are like cancers:

Dysfunctional paradigms result in fragmented policies and unstable governments. . . This happens when toxic, pride-based competition enters into the mix of human relationships. The illusion that one person or group “needs” to seem bigger, better, stronger, smarter or more powerful than the others poisons the waters of life from which all drink.

This prideful attitude breeds insecurities, triggering an opposite and equal illusion of lack, as if the success of others constitutes an insult or threat that must be counter-attacked.

Like cancers which turn the cellular dynamics of the human body against itself, views that violate holistic wisdom turn the parts of the social organism against each other.

In other words, the underlying fault of the tragic story I’m writing about in my secluded author’s corner is another kind of self-destructive cancer. And though it would take a great deal of courage and considerable, ongoing effort, for some, it’s curable.

What is needed is a positive paradigm shift. In Einstein’s words, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

True, grieving over a sentimental boy-meets-girl story is less challenging than facing up to our deepest faults and fears first hand. We are ready to weep for fictional characters when what we’re really crying about is our own inevitable demise. The problem with projection, however, is that shedding tears doesn’t change the facts.

It might well be that emotional romance stories are part of the diversionary media noise being generated to distract away from and cover up impending real life dangers. In the meantime, I am still writing away, like Green going “Marco, Marco, Marco.”

“Polo,” anyone?

Rethinking Suicide at New Year’s

globeTonight I’m remembering the year I worked as a legal secretary for a divorce attorney. His income was seasonal. Before the Christmas, business was slack. He shrugged it of philosophically. He knew he’d make up the difference and then some after New Year’s.

 Then, people who’d gone into the holiday season with unrealistic expectations crashed with opposite and equal disappointment. After all the anticipation, a let down was sure to follow. That’s when they decided to call it quits, in droves.

 Sometimes, calling it quits takes an even more drastic form. This is when Rethinking Survival becomes a must. Here are relevant sections.

 RETHINKING SURVIVAL – Excerpts

 Stability in the Midst of Change

Working with the Quantum Paradigm of Change gives the thoughtful person a realistic perspective on what changes and what doesn’t, of what to depend on and what not. The eternal center, deeper than change, is impervious to time. It’s changeless.

In stark contrast, on the surface, natural elements are continuously combining, separating and recombining. Matter is continuously composing and decomposing. Human organizations are inherently unstable.

Human relationships are continuously evolving. Only the power of higher love and disciplined long-term commitments override the natural process of death and decay.

For those securely established at the hub, the center holds eternal. With a correct and complete model of change, survivors are able to the maintain inner stability necessary to cope with unstable circumstances. But when people forget, they get stuck on the surface and then complain that “the center does not hold.”

Those attuned to the center don’t identify with surface changes. They know better than to take them personally. They don’t kill themselves when the stock market crashes. They adjust. They don’t kill others to revenge themselves on outrageous fortune. For the sake of their own sanity, they simply forgive and remain open to new opportunities.

From a limited human perspective, experience sometimes seems just, the logical consequence of past behavior. Other times, life seems to make no sense whatsoever. Most unjust. But that’s life as we know it on Planet Earth. “Shit happens.”

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: Beliefs and Information Make the Difference

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Shakespeare. Hamlet

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.

Shakespeare studies as well as reading and re-reading Faulkner’s masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury, helped clarify my dilemma.

So did Ph.D. dissertation research that explained the scarcity of women in school administration. It brought to my awareness the programmed stereotypes, antithetical to competent behavior, that I had to root out of my unconscious mind.

In Europe, I clicked with an “A-ha!” moment when a boyfriend put me down with the cliché, “Es gibt nicht so was,” which translates roughly as, “You’re impossible.” Literally, the words mean, “There is no such thing,” or “You don’t exist.” My angry answer was immediate. “Hier bin ich!” I pointed to myself with the literal retort, “Here I am!”

Surely no one intended by such mindless language to harm me, or Marilyn Maraffe either. Yet she is still dead and the lives of those affected by her suicide changed forever. This gifted young cellist, belittled and pushed to the sidelines by condescending males who knew not what they did, dropped out of Oberlin’s Music Conservatory.

She fell into depression, closed herself in her garage and turned on the ignition of her black VW Bug. She left a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the passenger seat beside her, opened to the death scene.

She didn’t intend to die. It was cry for help. But crying wolf can backfire.

By an unfortunate quirk of fate, the neighbor who arrived home from work punctually at the same time every night, who should have opened garage doors in time to rescue her, had an errand to run that night. He didn’t find her in time.

. . . In an inhospitable world that continues to disconfirm my true identity, pushes to wipe me off the map, cram me into the narrow molds of other people’s convenience, I practice the positive phoenix response open to everyone, everywhere. When outrageous misfortune impels to suicide, I die to the old, but only to continuously recreate myself new and better.

“Hier bin ich!” I am here still yet!

Einstein’s Energy Variable

 . . . Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they depend for survival on strengths drawn from the middle and center of the wheel. At times, deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude.

At other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence. In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.

Societies which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview that denies the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardship on those whose inner lives are especially active. Denying high energy people’s drive and failing to provide practical methods for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to suicide, or at best, underground.

Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

Humor provides another outlet for releasing the pent-up emotional tensions which cause illness. The Quantum Paradigm gives credence to the Norman Cousin’s belief that “laughter is the best medicine. ”It validates the healing wisdom of Patch Adams, the paradigm-breaking physician whose clowning with patients has earned international fame.

————–

 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. Murder. Suicide. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.

This is why it’s imperative to recognize and root out the assumptions based on dysfunctional paradigms that tie us in knots. They tear us apart. They drive us crazy.

To survive intact, we must cleave to the essence of the perennial philosophy. The Quantum Paradigm 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.

 ————-

Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with false information driven by dysfunctional paradigms.

If you accept the game and its rules as alien agents define them and proceed to rebel against uncivil authorities, mindlessly hating and resisting, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

. . . The only chance of winning — ultimately, surviving — is to demand a new, clean, unmarked deck — one with all the cards. In other words, make a fresh start based on the accurate and complete Quantum Paradigm.

LET THE NEW YEAR BE THE TIME OF YOUR START FRESH.

All best! Pat West

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