Tag Archives: Sun Tzu

Seven Axioms of Positive Change

As promised, here is an abbreviated list of the seven basic axioms of viable, positive change as they’re listed in The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. They all refer to the basic model of concentric circles linked in a continuous, infinite loop:

 

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

In the Positive Paradigm worldview, the physical world of experience has its origin and end at the creative center of the Wheel. The unseen drives the seen. The invisible precedes the visible. Inspiration precedes actions which in turn produce results.

Therefore, the quality of daily life depends on the quality of belief systems. If the paradigm held is complete and accurate, it leads to consistent action that yields successful, beneficial results. When paradigms are incomplete and inaccurate, however, they generate inconsistent actions that lead to failure, pain and suffering.

By definition, a universal paradigm can be applied to every and any aspect of life. A rethinking of personal lives, bringing them into alignment with the Positive worldview, will enhance well-being on all levels. A similar rethinking of organizational structures on increasingly larger scales of magnitude will have equally beneficial consequences.

A deep understanding of the Positive Paradigm illumines whatever field of endeavor upon which it is focused. This includes all the arts as well as the physical and social sciences — economics, politics and government.

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  • AXIOM TWO: We are each a world complete, containing the potentials of the universe.

Sadly, this is the least known but most important fact of life we never learned in school – but should have. In large part, the Handbook is written as the book I searched for on the library shelves, but couldn’t find. It should have been there, and now will be for others who also sense that there’s something really important missing from what we were taught which must be restored. It’s the basis of a fundamental respect for self as well as for all others.

The place to look in this information starts with ancient medical traditions. The traditional sciences of both India and China map the subtle inner energy patterns which Huston Smith called the “invisible geometry” which shapes all humanity to a “single truth.”

In these worldviews, energy emanates from and returns to an eternal source. It is the stuff from which the physical world is generated. It is the substructure which frames the physical human body, upon which mental and physical health depend. When this energy is abundant, its circulation free flowing, and its distribution balanced, we experience health. When energy is depleted, stagnant or unbalanced, the result is disease on every level.

The functional term “health” in the context of these traditions means “whole.” The health of subtle energetic and related biological systems depends on the integrated balance of the interrelated parts. Each part depends on and completes the whole. The concept of “holism” expresses this worldview. . . .

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  • AXIOM THREE: Unity and Diversity Are Necessary Compliments

The third axiom is almost as neglected as the second. In addition, it is subject to distortions and misunderstandings that make matters worse. This confusion is the unfortunate cause of conflict in family relationships, and all the way up the life chain to conflict between nations.

Inherent, inner similarity is the realistic foundation of common understanding. However, the fact that all people have the same inner structure does not mean that all are identical, or should be treated the same. Quite the contrary, within the evolutionary chakra scale, at any given time, most individuals are focused on only one or a small combination of centers and their related issues.

Like snowflakes, humans are identical in their basic structure. Each, however, is unique expression of the universal pattern. Personal abilities and needs are the result of an infinitely complex set of variables. And just as the balance of energy centers promotes the health of the individual, a balance of complimentary aptitudes and interests promotes the general health of society at large.

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

Axiom Four is the practical foundation of ethics. In a materialist, linear worldview, it may seem possible to hide selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances and escape the logical consequences of one’s actions. This false premise and its horrific outcome, however, is exposed in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm reality, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye reap, so shall ye sow,” and “For everything there is a season. . . “

In modern parlance, the saying that underscores the circular dynamic of “poetic justice” is, “What goes around comes around.”

In the New Testament, Jesus stated the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This observation holds true as axiomatic. It has been observed for a very long time that in fact — even if not immediately, or directly — what is done does, for better or worse, return in kind.

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  • AXIOM FIVE: History is neither linear or progressive, nor can human survival be taken for granted.

Some things change. Others never do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, who wrote the world-loved Tao Te Ching, or The Way and Its Power, knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles. Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, to capture markets, maximize profits and beat out the competition.

All these texts draw on the wisdom encoded in the I Ching, the venerable Book of Change, to steer them in the decision-making process. They rely on the law of subtle change and the personal understandings derived from working with it to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used as a protective, self-defense measure, or exploited with endlessly ingenious variations that take advantage of the uninformed. . .

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. That the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, some today still continue to think of history as a flat, straight line. In this they are as sadly mistaken as were the navigators who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat. In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

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  • AXIOM SIX: Used as a linguistic tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.

Like humanity itself, the English language is also becoming an endangered species. Clear and effective communication can no more be taken for granted than any other aspect of the civilization.

In tracking the meanings of words, their devolution is found to be systematic. In some cases, the same word means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well. The inherent danger is that people often talk at cross-purposes, thinking they understand each other when in fact they’re missing each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

It’s worth the time to pay attention to what’s meant by specific words in common use. Working with the Positive Paradigm Wheel explains the dynamics of shifting definitions. The same word takes on different meanings on different levels of the Wheel.

One example is the word “positive.” Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.

At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution.

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

As stated in the Preface caveat, according to the Positive Paradigm, everyone is already intrinsically whole. Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” This is the wisdom behind the biblical admonition, “Ye must be perfect like your father.” However, just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

Worse, many have been deceived into believing they’re inherently not-okay. The Handbook confirms inherent wholeness. Its structure provides the practical foundation for actualizing in-born potential and initiating the ongoing process of making and keeping ourselves FUNCTIONALLY whole, over and over again.

The subtitle Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change isn’t intended to suggest that this or any other book can magically or literally make anyone whole, or that once through the book, you’re done. It requires not only initial work, but ongoing follow-through. It’s personal intention and consistent effort that produce results. This is just a really useful tool.

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To be continued. Each of the basic axioms generates numerous related corollaries. Future blogs will list the most important of them.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.