I was challenged tonight to think deeply about promoting my books. Is it just to make money? In marketing efforts, have I gone sideways, forgetting larger, fundamental purpose and goals?
How can I express how deeply the conviction goes, “To save one life is to save the world entire?”
As a young girl, in a world where adults failed me entirely, books kept me alive. Years later, I wrote intending to put on the shelves that for which I earlier searched but could not find. I wrote to help confused, bewildered young people like the young woman I once was survive. It is to pay forward what authors ancient and modern gave of themselves to me . . . solace, hope and faith.
That is why I write. And that is why I will to fight to cut through the clamor of competition to be heard.
Along these lines, I remembered an article written in December of 2014. It says the same thing in a different, maybe better, way. Then, I had given up the fight and left. But kind words and second thoughts led me back into the fray . . on my terms.
Richard Lipscombe hinted I would have second thoughts about leaving WB. He also said exactly what (he probably knew) would tempt me back:
Patricia, thanks for your intellectual efforts in your posts – you made me think about stuff that I otherwise would not have ever really contemplated. Good teachers make us think, they make us challenge the essence of who we are in the process, they are gift bearers, they are rare, and most of all they are not out for themselves but for us the students.
In writing what follows, it became clear to me that you guys are my teachers too. The process of writing Fresh Start II made me really think, for which I thank you all. Richard. Tony. François. SEF. TerryAM.
I was quite the poker fan for a while. Take-aways include the maxim, “Don’t explain. Don’t complain.” That is pretty much how I operate. But this time, I need to make an exception. To prevent future misunderstandings, I will (without complaining), explain why I decided the effort to make a Fresh Start is worth it.
For starters, I was trained as a musician. My social metaphors are harmony and cooperation. An orchestra comprised of talented soloists playing inspired music under the direction of a single conductor is my ideal community.
I swim like a golden fish in music, scriptures and things metaphysical. Competition is not only foreign to me. It is anathema.
In duality, there are two sides to every coin. Granted, without a doubt, there are some benefits to competition. But in today’s political/corporate world, the law of diminishing returns has pushed the pendulum to the opposite extreme. In an either/or world that pits winners against losers, losers are continuously scrambling to beat out the winners. Winners can never relax. They’re obliged to be constantly looking over their shoulders, wary of losers scheming to overtake them.
Is that really necessary? Are we nothing more than Darwinian animals, surviving at others’ expense? What about Survival of the Wisest, Jonas Salk’s alternative approach?
For example, look at American sport through the eyes of an uninitiated foreigner. The story goes that in the early 1960’s, a Jewish immigrant recently arrived in New York City attended his first football game. But the spectacle of grown men racing up and down the field, butting heads, competing to take possession of a ball seemed ridiculous. He shrugged, “How much cost a ball?”
Keeping our eye on the ball — the life-fulling goals everyone everywhere share in common – is what is too often forgotten in the heat of ego competition. That is why it seemed time for me to part ways with WB. Competing for ratings is not conducive to building a community of like-minded, purposeful writers. The pressure to comment for its own sake too-easily leads to empty ego-assertion – one-upsmanship — rather than contributing to the substance and purpose of each particular post.
I’m sure many guys have fond memories of participating in team sports. Politics, I suppose is the real world application of rivalries harnessed to social ends.
But my memories aren’t fond at all. Years spent in the UW Department of Educational Administration were an eye-opener as to what has gone so terribly wrong in education. Former football coaches and military vets were in charge of dictating how schools are run. Professors’ attitudes were saturated in violence and competition.
Where I defined “administration” in terms of its root, “ministry” (meaning service), the prevailing definition was “the allocation of scarce resources.”
The difference goes far deeper than gender or cultural preferences. It is a matter of human survival. The competitive attitude is a primary cause of world conflict, the reason we’re in such a terrible mess. Nor (as Einstein observed) are solutions are to be found in the same mode that has generated the problem.
In other words, it is exactly because my musician, yogic perspective is so different from the “norm” that I have a lot to offer to the WB community.
For the record, be assured I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Life hasn’t been any easier for me than for anyone else. Nor do I think I’m better than others. Metaphysically, that’s not possible. Students and teachers are warp and woof of the same fabric, giving and receiving in an infinite loop through the generations. We’re in it together.
In my world view, reverence for life is fundamental. Non-negotiable. This is why I recently took such exception to a comment made in the personal attack mode, with name-calling and overt disrespect. Again, it was symptomatic of all that has gone wrong in this world.
If I sometimes seem harsh (as one LI connection accused), the impatience has to do with my sense of urgency. The stakes are too high. Time is too short.
Also, although I sometimes speak in philosophical terms and use scriptural references, it is not to show off (as another LinkedIn detractor charged). It’s my reality. It’s simply who I am. I don’t write to impress or intimidate. It’s a calling. It’s my life work and heartfelt desire to put what I’ve learned (often the hard way) and who I am (for better or worse) at the service of those willing/able to benefit.
So, please, rather than faulting an imperfect messenger, focus on the message. We are Team Humanity. The ball worth fighting for is human survival, which, as Einstein has warned us, can no longer be taken for granted.