Welcome to TOTALITARIA! A wonderful world based on the highest ideals, most moral codes ever conceived by man!
Oooops! Do you really want to live in a Totalitarian society where your neighbors and creepy people spy on you and report you to the Morality Police overseen by the Minister of Interior, a guy responsible for the interior thoughts inside your mind?!
This blog explores Joost Meerlo’s chapter on the Totalitarian Mindset, which is a mindset that serves as a fundamental building block of totalitarian societies. This mindset does not just infect Totalitarian Rulers. It infects lots of people in a society who become susceptible to it for a variety of reasons
Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and regulation over public and private life. -- Totalitarianism -- Wikipedia
In fact, there are recognizable personality traits for forming and holding a Totalitarian Mindset.
These traits include conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and "toughness", destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sex. -- The Authoritarian Personality -- Wikipedia
There is even such a thing as a totalitarian democracy, which is a state is said to maximize its control over the lives of its citizens by using the dual rationale of general will (i.e., “public good”) and majority rule.
Recap & Current Events
Previous blogs of this series explore why we need heroes, super heroes, and strong stories that activate and workout the body parts of our mind: Archetypes. Like the rest of the world, I am shocked and horrified by Hamas October 7 attack and anyone celebrating this attack. What were they thinking is beyond what a normal person can conceive. Only people who have broken their minds and eviscerated their hearts are capable of cutting the fingers off a little boy before executing him and cutting heads off of babies. Only people who have turned themselves into monsters spend 16 years and billions of dollars building underground tunnels while not dropping a dime to build a bomb shelter for the 2.2 million people of Gaza and then build their underground bunker headquarters underneath refugee facilities and hospitals.
The killing of any innocent person–baby, child, woman, or man–is wrong… be it by knifes and guns or bombs… and yet, here we the people of the world, stand again looking into the jaws of violence, which breeds violence, which breeds violence and revenge and more violence. The same killing is happening in Ukraine implemented by another crazy totalitarian monster who is cozying up to this favorite totalitarian dictators in Iran, North Korea, China, and now Hamas, Hezbollah, and any and all extremists, violent visionaries who want to rule the world.
I have been devastated by images of death and destruction in Israel and Gaza, but one picture caught my attention in a curious way. This is the picture of the captured soldier recused by the IDF from Gaza.
I cannot fix or change this torn and tattered world. I can only reflect and notice and try to understand what makes a person lean into a Totalitarian Mindset and Life that never ends up serving the good of all. It only ever seems to serve a few living like rats in tunnels or cockroachs in golden palaces.
So let’s dive into Joost Meerlo who was a Jewish psychiatrist who survive the Nazi holocaust and thought a lot about what makes such men do such monstrous things.
There actually exists such a thing as a technique of mass brainwashing. This technique can take root in a country if an inquisitor is strong and shrewd enough. He can make most of us his victims, albeit temporarily.
What in the structure of society has made man so vulnerable to these mass manipulations of the mind? This is a problem with tremendous implications, just as brainwashing is. In recent years we have grown more and more aware of human interdependence with all its difficulties and complications.
I am aware of the fact that investigation of the subject of mental coercion and thought control becomes less pleasant as time goes on. This is so because it may become more of a threat to us here and now, and our concern for China and Korea must yield to the more immediate needs at our own door. Can totalitarian tendencies take over here, and what social symptoms may lead to such phenomena? Stern reality confronts us with the universal mental battle between thought control (and its corollaries) and our standards of decency, personal strength, personal ideas, and a personal conscience with autonomy and dignity.
Future social scientists will be better able to describe the causes of the advent of totalitarian thinking and acting in man. We know that after wars and revolutions this mental deterioration more easily finds an opportunity to develop, helped by special psychopathic personalities who flourish on man’s misery and confusion. It is also true that the next generation spontaneously begins to correct the misdeeds of the previous one because the ruthless system has become too threatening to them.
My task, however, is to describe some symptoms of the totalitarian process (which implies deterioration of thinking and acting) as I have observed them in our own epoch, keeping in mind that the system is one of the most violent distortions of man’s consistent mental growth. No brainwashing is possible without totalitarian thinking. The tragic facts of political experiences in our age make it all too clear that applied psychological technique can brainwash entire nations and reduce their citizens to a kind of mindless robotism which becomes for them a normal way of living. Perhaps we can best understand how this frightening thing comes about by examining a mythical country, which, for the sake of convenience, we shall call Totalitaria.
While writing this blog, I heard this on NPR. If you are interested in Totalitarian Societies and Mindset and what can happen to ordinary people just trying to live their lives in such societies, you should listen to this episode that tells how things can go sideways really fast, especially with social media and modern technologies.
In this episode, you meet a man in Iraq and the new app called Snitch, a woman in the US who was giving birth at home and arrested because her baby was a still birth, and what has been happening in Iran for decades with its brutal Morality police. The very same Iran supplying Putin with drones and Hamas with rockets.
Click Here is a five-part special series telling true stories about the people making and breaking our digital world. Hosted by former NPR Investigations correspondent Dina Temple-Raston, Click Here uses deep reporting and investigative journalism to introduce listeners to the people behind today’s cybersecurity and intelligence headlines. You’ll meet not just the hackers, but the people who are chasing them – without all that insider jargon that makes tech shows hard to understand.
What happens when authorities use digital weapons to impose their vision of morality on the people they are supposed to serve? Across the globe, rulers have launched apps, tracked phones, and used personal data in increasingly hostile ways, and it has sparked some very creative responses. -- Listen to this and other episodes of the Click Here podcast at clickhereshow.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hoffer seeks to provide non partisan and non bias information from both sides to help people understand the different sides, perspectives, and history of the conflict in the Middle East. It is a big lift and hard to do, and it is hard for people to reach out and seek more information to understand more about the horrors taking place. It is the only way forward for every individual to do this work, to check one’s own biases and blind spots. It is hard work, thinking, but without this hard work… there is only one place the world is going to land… and it’s not a peaceful place.
Following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, Harvard University junior Shira Hoffernoticed a lot of one-sided and polarizing narratives around the conflict.
In an effort to promote peaceful dialogue across differences, Hoffer launched the Hotline for Israel/Palestine, an educational texting hotline that seeks to provide users with nonpartisan information and resources.
The initiative already has two dozen volunteers, spanning across religions, ethnicities and countries.
Here & Now's Jane Clayson speaks with Hoffer for more details on this peace-forward effort.
My friend, Susan Katz Miller, wrote this wonderful book about embracing two religions in one family. She tells in this blog (that I am re-blogging) about a book reading she recently did about her book by the same name: Being Both and reflects on this precarious moment the world faces.
I can’t wrapped my head around the hate Hamas has been cultivating and growing for 16 years since rising to power in Gaza, and many more before this. The hostile brutality of their murder rampage on 10/7 cannot be let go without serious, significant consequences. I would murder them myself if I could.
And then the suffering of the people of Gaza, the 2.2 million people being used by Hamas as human collateral, disposal pawns in their Hate War to incite millions of people watching as they point their fingers and cry like the little, frighten men that they really are how brutal Israel is being to them.
Narratives are funny things, especially when used to evoke and manipulate millions into emotional responses such as rage and fury. What I have heard in the days and weeks since the barbarous butchery Hamas unleashed on 1,400 innocent human beings, is an Israeli man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot rescue his kidnapped wife and daughters. And I have heard of a Palestinian man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot protect or even find clean water for his wife and two sons.
What kind of beings have we become when we can murder women, children, and babies. One cannot take any side and claim blamelessness of sin. And yet to bath one’s mind in hate and to teach one’s children and countrymen to hate, this is some human beings excel in doing. And no one is going to win in the end. No one is blameless, and no one deserves to be deprived of basic human rights, especially the right to live and life for being Jewish, Palestinian, Christian, Muslim, or for being black or brown, red or white.
I pray for peace, for understanding, for justice, for a kinder and more compassionate world where all human life is precious and celebrated. Where children learn how to grow and cultivate tolerance, cooperation, and compassion. We seem so very far away for such a world–War in the Middle East, War in Ukraine, threats and insults from dictators and terrorists tempting, baiting, provoking the rest of the world to be their very worst selves… because a world like that… bullies, villains, thefts, and monsters win.
Life is fragile. It can end in an instant. Don’t waste it hating others because you really just hate yourself if that is all you can do.
Hate is a suicide pact. Hate never ends peacefully with a perfect world. Hate is not Heaven.
Recently, I found out that I really hate the word hierarchy. I came to this conclusion after arguing with an old, ex-Facebook friend about “functional hierarchy“.
I fundamentally don’t believe any human hierarchy can withstand the corruption of thought. It is thinking too much that has gotten the world into the predicaments it is in, thinking is not the God it once was, and it is not going to get us out of our messes.
We are like 10 billion baby birds clustered in nests of endless thought and thinking, and we are terrified to fly. This will make sense if you keep reading! But before dropping into the underworld, you better watch this Mother video!!!
This whole convoluted conversation happened because of a very simple question I asked about a diagram this particular man made about Transformational Change.
In the graphic he posted, I noticed there is no pathway for what to do if people don’t agree on the type of Transformational Change needed or on how to implement it.
So, I made the following comment:
On the outer circle of Discuss & Agree... what happens when you Discuss & Disagree or even further have Conflict?
Without this other very real possibility included in a realistic way, this is a closed-circle of "Liked-minded" thinkers who will grow smaller and smaller in their shared beliefs and ideas of Transformation, which they may conclude: "Needs to Be Imposed on Everyone Else for the Good of the World."
So much trauma and cycles of destruction, reprisals, vendettas have emerged out of Closed-Systems of Thinking ending in "Do Gooder" agendas.
What do you think?
Well, maybe I was alittle too provocative and Alan Wattsy in my comment when I ask about Do-Gooder agendas. He probably has no idea what I mean. But, as you will see, he assumes he knows what I mean… but he has no clue.
What I am referring to is explained simply in this video:
His response to my comment is as follows:
true. Which is why this model aims to 'transcend to THEN include'... the ethical commitment to acton behalf of the whole.
Can you show me a model where informed democracy is addressing Overshoot? No... there is, unfortunately, a functional hierarchy which needs to honour those who CAN see more, sense more, grok more, on behalf of the whole system/social field. This is only part of the process
If interested you might find more here (it's a link to his website...)
GULP! Now, I have a whole bunch more questions!
Really, he has made a mental model thatCAN identify people who have transcended and these people get admitted into some governing body who will make decisions and act on behalf of the whole?
Does this mean, the whole world?
Does it mean all the misfortunate survivors of the coming catastrophe that is going to destroy most of mankind …pick your catastrophe:climate change, nuclear war, AIs take over the world; they do this because they were given instructions by a Do-Gooder programmer desperately trying tomake the world safe for all life, so the AIs decide that humans have to go to make the world safe for more lifeforms.
You think I am exaggerating?! Then, you better listen to the Godfather of A.I.s as we know them today. He cracked the code for how the human mind works and implemented his understandings to machine learning. And did you know machines hallucinate? Well, the intelligent ones do! I think this is utterly fascinating!
I also know that this guy (and many others in his circle of friends on Facebook) fervently believe the world is going to collapse, and it is going to be God awful, so we better have a plan.
Knowing this, and assuming I survive the collapse, what if I don’t like this transcended group of people who are going to jump into action with their plan to save us and ensure only actions that benefit the good of us all are implemented?
And Grok?!! Really, is this like Mork (where is Mindy?). Or is Grok more like super Geeky?
Whatever it is, I don’t think I want anyone grokking for me.
I should have given up the ghost at this point, but I was stupid and engaged further saying:
Ah yes, functional hierarchy like what we see in the Good’Old USA or Russia sure is showing the world how much more they see than the rest of us can see on how to make the world Great again!
I say this tongue and cheek but without allowing for conflict even on the highest levels of hierarchy, I just don’t see how the human race is going to be doing much transforming any time soon, except maybe some fizzy bubbles on the sides of spaceship Earth
By the way, I could have also brought up China’s ambitions, North Korea’s ambitions, India’s ambitions, Saudi Arabia’s ambitions, and the newly incorporated states of mind and ambitions of Trump & Company, Elon Musk & Companies, Zhong Shanshan & Companies, Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault & Companies, and the list of corporations who make more money than most countries GDP is endless. But, I didn’t want to overwhelm him.
He responded with gusto! Writing the following response:
At this moment I've just watched a program on Al Jazeera on Black Lives Matter, and seeing (one of) the deep dysfunctional divisions in the US - the US is in collapse (see Umair Haque or Chris Hedges) [OH?!! Thank God this guy knows something I didn't know! Thank God We're going to die!], and will continue to split apart along these and other fault lines as biophysical reality gets harder to cope with (with climate change and ecological collapse and resultant economic collapse - which is already happening).
These divisions are caused by competing for identity (and survival) at a level less than that needed for the higher-level collective identity - in the words of one commentator the 'more viable future' would be 'a multiracial society that can live in harmony'.
I need to interrupt here. This guy has just made a huge pivot and is lecturing me about my own country! I live in the United States of America. In fact, I live less than 5 miles from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Now, I’m not putting Al Jazeera down, but since I live here and I must navigate these competing “identity issues” every day, I think I know a little bit more about them than he does or a single documentary can cover.
In fact, I’ve made a few documentaries myself about these very divisions and dysfunctions.
Here are just a few of them:
Whew! I bet you thought I’d never stop listing them!
Back to ex-FakeBook friend’s comments.
When I refer to 'functional hierarchy' I mean the sort of hierarchy that every natural ecosystem has - nested, holonic, and operating on behalf of the whole AND with diverse individual yet interdependent autonomous beings. In nature this animate intelligence expresses itself through co-evolution and within the higher 'goal' of 'life'.
AH!!! The baby birds! I bet you read this far to see what the 10 billion baby birds in nests is all about! It’s about this comment.
First of all, I bet this ex-friend doesn’t know that being a baby bird in a nest is the most dangerous time of a bird’s life. It is a time of flightlessness that make baby birds vulnerable to all kinds of threats--crows, squirrels, snakes, cats, even wind.
The best thing for a baby bird to do is grow up fast and get the heck out of the nest!!! And have you ever looked at a nest after all the baby birds have left? I have! It’s full of poop!!!
I am not very impressed with his responses so far and started to do my own research on how to run a country or run a bunch of survivors after a great BIG disaster.
I quickly find based on his reference to nests,which I think he wants it to sound NATURAL, that he really doesn’t mean ‘functional hierarchy‘ at all — if he is really talking about a natural system where there is lots and lots of diversity and autonomous living beingswalking about and doing their thing, then he is talking heterarchy; full stop: NOT hierarchy.
I found an article rather quickly in Forbe’s about all of this and this article led me to Philip Bobbitt’s Shield of Achilles. I will talk more about this later. But clearly my ex-friend has never heard of Philip or his book.
Also, before moving on to the rest of his comments, let’s dig into this word holonic:
It is also a fundamental theory of machine learning. So, we are back to the end of the world by A.I.s!
Who knows, he might even be the Do-Gooder programmer who writes a well intention code to save as much diversity of life as possible that ends the human race because the AIs determine we are killing life faster than we are preserving it.
And the last thing I want to know: has he talked to this animate intelligence himself?!
How the HELL does he know that this thing or being has a higher goal and that the goal is life?
First of all, I know he doesn’t believe in God, but this is sounding a lot like a God with goals who is going to Make Something Happen!
This an important clue to his thinking, and it provides a glimpse into the Mega Myth he fervently believes runs the universe.
This myth is The Fully Automative Model. This short Alan Watts tells it best!
Alright, I’ve digressed enough, so back to his comments:
In Human systems we most often have structural hierarchies, with power-over dynamics. We DO need ways of inviting (creative) conflict across difference to discuss the options in front of us; and a functional Democracy is meant to assist that process. And, it can... but often at a level that is removed from the emerging future realities of biophysical collapse.
Wow — I’m so glad he pointed this out to me. I would still be thinking humans who live in great BIG civilized systems still gather around one GREAT BIG camp fire singing Kumbaya to solve conflicts!
Is he possibly admitting that there should be an arrow in his diagram for conflict?!!
We could have ended this entire conversation right here!
But wait! He goes on!
If democratic representatives were aware of the biophysical realities within which all their ideas and creative options are nested (functional hierarchy) then perhaps they might make collective decisions in mutual interest at levels required for what's coming. Unfortunately most people are ecologically illiterate and removed from nature so they don't realize that their current comfort levels and assumptions of entitlement, and fear of others taking them from them, are threatened by bigger, more encompassing forces (that will affect everyone) that will cause massive suffering as whole systems collapse.
Fine, these are overly broad generalizations that basically paint a picture that pretty much every human being living in a civilization on Earth is an illiterate, fearful, comfort-seeking coward with entitlement issues. If he wants to define nearly 10 billion people on Earth in this way, he’s not all wrong, but neither is he all right.
In making all my documentaries, I met and talked with so many motivated, well-informed, highly intelligent people who had profound ecological awareness and were not sitting home eating Cheetos! Rather, they were getting on a buses at 3 a.m. to get to marches happening in Washington, DC on Climate Change, Science, Gun Violence, Trump, Lies, and Black Lives Matter.
Perhaps he’s simply mansplaining again. But he still has more to say:
My point about 'transcend' is that only people that understand this can see which futures are no longer viable. That does not mean they 'know everything' - but it does mean they have a different worldview. They cannot guarantee 'the way' to go - there is no single direction. They can however point to many of the non-ways to go, because of Universal Harms that would and do threaten Universal Interests - not just the vested interests of any particular group that sees 'others' as the biggest threat to their identity and wellbeing.
Oh goodie! Transcendence! Yes, I really want to know more about what he means by transcend!
But, Hmmmmm… there are ONLY a select group of people who can understand this? My father was a pastor. My grandfathers were pastors. My great grandfathers were pastors as were many of my uncles and cousins… and you get the picture… I have been steeped in the language and imagery of transcendence.
What he describes is not transcendence. It’s intellectual arrogance, which is super creepy. At least he recognizes he and other transcended individuals might not get it right and cannot guarantee “the way to go“.
I remain highly concern about how power and authority is being ranked and sorted in his System of Transformation.
How is this really complicated human issue of governing itself in ever bigger and bigger systems of humans going to decide and select people to serve on this “functional hierarchy“? How in the HELL are they even going to recognize Transcended individuals?!
First of all, I don’t think you can recognize transcended people. In fact, for thousands of years, human beings typically tend to kill people who have transcended, in other words people who have become Holy.
Why do humans kill Holy people? Because Holy people scare the crap out of us regular, run of the mill human beings.
And why is this? Because Holy people are Whole people–they have fully integrated their Light and Dark sides, their Good Side and their Evil Side, the Savior and the Devil. This is not my idea. This is a very ancient idea as expressed by Alan Watts.
So, if you think you are a bunch of highly intelligent Transcendedpeople, you probably aren’t. But if you take the reins of ruling a great big bunch of humans, and you believe you are a transcended bunch of bloʊks, then you are eventually going to have to decide who lives and who dies.
Running huge human systems is not for sissies or for people who are squeamish because Nature makes LIFE and DEATH decisions every day, and if you think you are a bunch of Transcended humans running things like NATURE does, then guess what!?? You are going to have to make these kind of decisions too.
If you don’t,Kaboom! Another disaster! Overpopulation, perhaps like The Mote in God’s Eye, which is a science fiction novel by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, first published in 1974.
This story is about human beings first contact with an intelligent alien race. How exciting, except these aliens are more intelligent than humans and they keep something concealed from the humans who are trying to decide if they are friends or foes. The thing they are hiding is population issues…really, really serious population issues that have caused this ancient race of intelligent beings to rise to spectacular heights only to crash back down into primitive savagery again and again and again… something they call Cycles.
Such big and complex decisions required to run an advanced, intelligent civilization (regardless of whether they are human or aliens) depends entirely on what is being valued by the group and by who wants to do the running of things.
How is this any different than what is happening in the USA, in Russia, or in any hierarchical system on Earth? In fact, how is it different than how corporations, cities, towns, non-profits, and pretty much every modern, technology-using human system (and perhaps even intelligent alien system) are deciding how to run things?
If an intelligent group of beings decides to run things by a hierarchy, then they have to decide first on what they value. Based on these values, a ranking is created that determines how the hierarchy will be structured.
In other words, the values selected determine who will be placed on top of the pyramid to give to the orders and who will be placed in the middle and bottom of the pyramid to listen to and follow the orders. Another way of seeing this, is that the people in the middle and on the bottom (everyone who are below the ruling class) are the ones doing the work to hold up the agreed uponvalues.
Everyone–this includes rulers, managers, middle managers, bosses, workers, and through much of human history, slaves–assumes the mold of the Functional Hierarchy. Another way of saying this is that every person assume a role that holds the mold, which operates constantly in the background of everybody’s mind who lives in the system. This operating system provides unconscious instructions sort of like an algorithm, which are a set of rules to be followed or calculations to be made to solve problems encountered as the system operates through time.
The mental model of a pyramid is a powerful system of thinking. Indeed it is machine-like. It can be cold, calculating, and extremely brutal, perhaps this is why humans are so found on hierarchies, regardless of if they are functional or dysfunctional.
However, whenever (wherever) humans create hierarchies to run things, lots of people and things don’t make it to the top of the pyramid because they simply don’t fit into the desired values of the “functional hierarchy” (something humans created based on arbitrary ideas and values). The people and things(living beings) that get left outside of the ideal are automatically de-valued. Clearly, something important is being left out, being ig-nored, by the very ideas necessary to create a Functional Hierarchy.
Let’s see if he answers or addresses any of these concerns because so far he has not. But he’s also not done explaining (or should I say mansplaing):
In our approach we don't create 'safe-spaces' where everybody stays in their comfort zone. We create 'safe-enough spaces' where people are challenged. From our website Glossary: (his website again and another diagram)
“Safety is not the absence of threat—it is the presence of connection.”
– Gabor Maté
We use the term to describe spaces where we can have challenging Courageous Conversations about difficult topics, involving rigorous inquiry from multiple perspectives, and still hold space for “respectful belonging” where we can appreciate one another as we live the questions together.
Part of our approach is to hold people 'safe-enough' while challenging them not to collude at levels less than the biophysical system dictates is needed - ie. face reality and live the questions, together, in Universal Interests... and, yes, you are right to be cynical, for it is virtually impossible from this starting point... especially in the US at present.
Hmmm… I don’t really have a problem with all this mulling about safety and safe enough and challenging people. But he is not providing a tangible way of doing anything differently than what we are already doing in the world with all our hierarchies, functional or not!
And, WOW, he is really putting the USA down! I never knew he hated Americans so much!!!
So, once again I press on when I should have stopped writing this:
So how do you select people: "that understand this can see which futures are no longer viable."
How do you ensure all peoples, the ones still asleep in the safety of civilization and the people awaken to the the coming collapse, are represented in the decision-making of the 'functional hierarchy' (I don't think you used functional previously, but that is beside the point)... who gets to decide what is functional and belongs in a human hierarchy?
Might it not be our very own overthinking of every problem and solution digging us all deeper into the pit of collapse?
And who is "our" in approach? Is this the synthesize of your years of deep thinking and consideration, which is considerable and done with empathic intent, or are there others involved in the "our"?
And, you did not mention Russia or Putin? How does this transcendent approach handle this situation? Or is this Western propaganda at work blowing up the situation in Ukraine?
One quick side note on overthinking and/or clinging to an idea or a thought when clearly one should have let go of it long ago. When a person does this, the idea or thought tends to grow smaller and smaller.
This is because the process of thinking presses the LIFE FORCE right out of an idea or a thought. The more the LIFE FORCE is removed, the less and less alive the IDEA is inside ones mind, or should I say the MORE DEAD the IDEA BECOMES.
Every single person who is born into Western Civilization is trained to do this from the day they are born. It is essential they learn how to do this and to do this all the time so that they stay in the social order, the social hierarchy, regardless of it is a functional one or not.
Alan Watts and many of great sages of Buddhism speak a lot about the need to let go of our ideas and patterns of thought and beliefs. They encourage us to fly, not to cling to dead and dying thoughts that make us do ignorant and increasingly crazy things. Once we outgrow our ideas or learn something new, we need to let go of them and move on with the flow of all things living in time and are alive.
Now, back to his thoughts and thinking:
...thanks for engaging. First, re 'functional hierarchy' I did mention it
I don’t think until this point he knew who I was, and I hit a nerve for sure: a functional nerve! In his original invitation for Transformational Change anyone, he does not mention functional. That is what I was commenting about. The first time he mentions functional and hierarchy is in his first comment to my original question. And his answer to that question is what made more questions in my mind.
But, he goes on:
"Can you show me a model where informed democracy is addressing Overshoot? No... there is, unfortunately, a functional hierarchy which needs to honour those who CAN see more, sense more, grok more, on behalf of the whole system/social field. This is only part of the process "
There’s the Geeky Grokking again. And the inference that some human beings are better than and more advanced than others, in what precisely?!
If you read it as hierarchy then you probably didn't see my point... it is a naturalfunctional hierarchy - which many debate, but which does exist, based on maturity, capability, consciousness levels and activation (or not) of human development potentials - NOT a constructed human hierarchy (like an imposed boss/ servant relationship - with power over).
OH WOW! He says it again, it is a natural functioning hierarchy! Which apparently should make all the difference something like what Simba discovered, right?
But, no, my ex-friend is not talking about a Natural System because he is dividing and cutting it up into all sorts of categorizes by using labels such as maturity, capability, consciousness levels and activation. This is what the thinking mind does; it cuts up reality into little tiny bits then messes them up, so we can never put it back together again…just like Humpty Dumpty or at least not as long as our selfish, self-center, fearful, greedy human minds are in control of the narrative.
And, he’s still not done mansplaining. So maybe there is still something in his explanation that won’t make the hairs stand on my arm.
Here he goes! Hold onto your steering wheel:
That said, people are, despite their best wishes and hopesNOT equal [I don't disagree with this, but please...] every parent knows this... you don't force a kid who can only crawl to walk before they are ready (or at all);[Well... duh!] yet you can assume they have the potential, and, if they see others doing it, will one day also do so - where does the leadership example come from...? Another younger kid? An older kid? An adult? [Ah, perhaps here's the natural functional hierarchy...you age into it? Is this what he's implying? Well, I take issue.] Hence we need to be careful NOT to assume people don't have 'potential' while also recognising that not everyone has actualised it yet - that's why we generally don't let kids drive trucks. [Haha -- he hasn't been to the USA! Here, we can do anything at any age!]
OK!!! Full Stop!!! We’ve got to explore this explanation a little bit more!
Hmmm… maybe babies can drive trucks!
And what if the evolution of mind runs in reverse to the evolution to the physical body?
I’m a MOM! I’ve raised a baby! Yes, my baby crawled, then she walked, and now she drives a truck!!! It all happened exactly as he says…LOL!
But, I don’t think WISDOM grows that way. I think on the Mental-Spiritual realm (this gooey, sticky place inside the human mind where we feel this utterly strange sensation of sentience, something we all simply refer to as consciousness) that growth rather runs in reverse to the body.
As we grow up, we get narrower and narrower in our thinking and focus. We are forced to shut out more and more of the world from our MIND so we can carry out the tasks of daily living (or survival in a manmade world). Eventually, we all get to an incredibly small world views with an incredibly small selection of thoughts, ideas, values that we think explain everything. What we fail to see is we have become a SINGULARITY and we are COLLAPSING in on ourselves!
This sounds terrible, but this is the mental world… not the physical world. This moment of COLLAPSE is the most exciting opportunity ever! It the MOMENT of Transformation.
The thing you got to do when you get to this MOMENT is KEEP MOVING… go man go!!!
Whatever crisis you hit, it’s there for a reason. It is your DOING, your HAPPENING because you want to GROW and TRANSFORM is what consciousness does... it is flowing, it is dancing, it is constantly making new patterns and experiences.
I can’t tell you what your moment of crisis will be or when you will hit it. But if you are human, you’re going to have a chance to thread the eye of your MOMENT IN TIME.
Each of us is born into this world with utterly unique capabilities and potential. Each of us is trying to master innate abilities we have always had, but we forget we have them because of all the training we get into HOW TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN.
Don’t get me wrong! There is tremendous value in this. Going around and hitting other kids over the head is not a NICE way to move through the WORLD (Trump and Putin obviously never moved passed this stage in mental development).
We all want civility in this world. That is how we all live in peace and plenty, but we cannot master our innate abilities without really digesting and integrating ALL the knowledge trained into us on how to be a GOOD CITIZEN and RECKON that with WHO WE REALLY are (and have always been since the day we were born).
Without this reckoning that is really going to feel like a constriction, a tightening and reduction of consciousness, you won’t get to other side of your Self.
If you are paying attention, there is going to a point of crisis in your life that is going to make you question everything. And this is ALL RIGHT! In fact, it is essential.
But, if you are not paying attention (Ron DeSantis, I’m talking AT you), and you don’t want to WAKE UP, then you are not going to WAKE UP. And this is ALL RIGHT too!
The only thing I can tell you if you do hit this point of constriction is:
But wait, my ex-friend is not done mansplaining:
Unfortunately many in politics (such as your infamous ex-Pres) reach arrested development at a level less than what is required to provide systems-ethical leadership for our times. Bully boy narcissism (pick any number of exemplars, globally) is not what's called for when the potential extinction of humanityis the writing on the wall.
[What did I tell you? He is totally into total collapse of our global system...and human extinction. But maybe we deserve to go extinct and resistance is futile, so why suffer the inevitable? It's a collective gamble that we all clearly lost...right?!!]
But this also pissed me off. Not the Bully Boy Narcissism comment, that just made it very obvious he is not paying attention to me or my work (as he pretended to do for years).
If he had been paying attention, he might have learned something NEW because I’ve been writing and posting about all this stuff (some stuff very humorously, some very critical of our ex-President) for a long time.
Basically, my take away from his comment is that he is implying this functional hierarchy is most probably going to consist of a lot of grumpy old men and a few token women who refuse to grow up.
I know this guy from lots of previous engagements, and I can read between the lines, and this is exactly what he is saying.
He is also implying HE is the one who can see further, run faster, and out thinkall the rest of us to lead this NEW functional hierarchy that will save the world from collapse (or after collapse)!
It leads me to wonder just which direction is he and his new functional leaders going towards? Is it truly the “right” direction to be looking or is it just more of the same tangled web of endless bureaucracies we are already stuck in up over our eyeballs already?
So these are some of the reasons this comment really pisses me off.
And also, some of the wisest, kindness, most inclusive people I know are young people. I would totally choose a younger people over jagged jerks like my ex-friend is being here as he defends his fictional “functional hierarchy.“
But, maybe I should still be patient and read keep reading:
As for "who are we when I say 'our'" - I provided a link to 'our' website - And Now What - and this is the About Us page - https://andnowwhat.be/about/ - and, yes, it is the result of "years of deep thinking and consideration, which is considerable and done with empathic intent" by each of us alone, and for several years collectively.
YEAH! Finally! He is addressing the Putin bastard and dysfunctional Russia!
As for Russia or Putin - what can I say... he would not be included in the 'transcendent' because he is, by definition, not aiming to transcend and include (partly my point) but to take-over by force... which, incidentally, also happens to be the way the US generally behaves - and it will continue to do so, for it fears losing the dominance its inhabitants take for granted, and fears what would happen if others behaved toward it as it has toward them.
But, hey wait! That is a huge BIG pivot! WOW, he really hates us. He didn’t even finish his thought about Russia.
I was REALLY hoping to learn something about his thinking on Putin.
Several years ago, back when we conversed all the time, I told him that the most evil character in my book is based on Putin. This was before Putin invaded Ukraine and Trump was cozying up to him like a pussy cat to a snake or is it a snake to a pussy cat or are they really both SNAKE CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe Putin and Trump mated and mutated!!!!!!!!!!!
He immediately put me down by lecturing me on how Putin is a pussy cat, really he isn’t a bad guy at all, he’s just watching out for his country like any good ruler would do. And, it’s a BIG country he has to take care of and the world isn’t very nice place, especially the WEST. He told me that I was simply indoctrinated by Western media and didn’t understand things accurately.
He kind of sounded like Trump (?!!)in that moment! I have never forgotten his put down. And, it’s probably the real reason I needled him.
But, I have digressed again! Let’s get back to his mighty man-splaination!
So, to be clear - I think you have just pointed to why there needs to be distinction between those who CANthink transformationally, on behalf of the whole system, and those who can only think of their own vested interests or for a smaller subset of the whole (individual, in-group, corporation, nation)...
So, if you had to try to create transformative change that might get the US out of the mess it has created for itself, who would you select? Who would you not select? And why?
I’m fine with leaving Putin out of the hierarchy too… DUH!
But HERE again he pivots and attacks my country lumping the USA in the same dusty coal bin as Putin and his goons.
We are having this conversation, by the way, over the United States Memorial Weekend, which is a time we reflect on the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, especially the ones who died or were injured.
I have 2 Great Uncles who served in WWI, an Uncle who served in Korea, and a brother who served in the Army Reserves. He’s really pissed me off NOW!
And Now What would have happened to the world if the US had not gotten involved in these great wars?
Would he really want a Kim Jong Un ruling over the whole Korean Peninsula? Does he know Winston Churchill begged the US to get involved in WWII? What if the US had just sat on its hands mumbling: “We don’t want to get involved in that war,” as it sang Kumbaya to itself as it pretended nothing’s going on over there?
Yes, the USA has made some really bad foreign affairs decisions. The US has sent troops into places they should not have sent them. The US has pulled troops out of places we have been when they should not done this: Afghanistan!!
What happened in Afghanistan is complicated. How do you define exactly when all the trouble began and how do you define when it has all ended? Was it 1219 to 1332 when the Mongol Empire ruled Afghanistan? Was it 1370 to 1405 when Timur (sometimes referred to as Tamerlane) ruled the land that would become Afghanistan plus a whole lot more of middle Asia? Both Empires are remembered for the barbarity of their conquests.
But that is ancient history, right? What does that have to do with the barbarity of our modern age? Well, have you seen Flee? If not, you should!
If you watch Flee, you may ask Why did the US fund the mujahideen?
Well that’s a long, sordid, complicated story that “began decades earlier, after the Soviet Union invaded that country in 1979. The U.S. wanted to do everything it could to counter the Russians during the Cold War. And so, at that time, the U.S. worked with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to arm Afghan Islamist fighters known as the mujahideen.” — Read or listen to PBS NewsHour and the Former head of Saudi intelligence recounts America’s longstanding ties to Afghanistan
This colossal battle between the two Titans of the Modern Western World, because if you’re going to be a Good Titan you’re going to need a Bad Titan. It has been this way in the human made world for 5,000 years. If you’re wondering why I pick this number, you are just going to have to wait and read my book.
Since WWII, the USA and USSR (now Russia) made so many Nukes if they went to war with each other, the world would descend into a nuclear winter so profound, life as we know it would cease. Something like Midnight Sky depicted:
So instead, the US and Russia poke each other through proxy wars that create a different sort of consequence: Blowback. I am not as stupid as my mansplaining friend wants to pretend that I am, nor are countless Americans like me.
US support of mujahideen created Osama bin Laden who would train Saudi men to fly planes into buildings pulling off one of the worst terrorist event on US soil 9/11. Leading to the US invasion of Afghanistan and hunt for bin Laden.
The Pakistan government has repeatedly denied that it provides any military support to the Taliban in its diplomacy regarding its extensive operations in Afghanistan.82 Of all the foreign powers involved in efforts to sustain and manipulate the ongoing fighting, Pakistan is distinguished both by the sweep of its objectives and the scale of its efforts, which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban's virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support. -- Human Rights Watch
Pakistan did this because it served their interests. US stayed for 20 years to encourage democracy because that served our interests. Then, the US pulled out due to a deal negotiated by the Orange turkey himself, Trump, and implemented by Biden, letting everything all come crashing down again, just like what happened to Amin and his family on April 28, 1992, and the USA played a role in this collapse too!
If we are really honest with what is happening in the world right now, it has so much more to do with ordinary, everyday men and women and their individual and collective beliefs, values, and biases than it has to do with a big bad Russia or a big bad USA.
Oh yes, humans know how to cluster together into great, big, bad armies and nations. We know how to build pyramids—Functional Hierarchies–structures that live inside our minds and operate endlessly like algorithmic codes transported seamlessly into our very souls on endless streams of thoughts (conscious thoughts or unconscious thoughts) and also the things we are told we must do or else!
We’ve been doing this for over 5,000 years. Creating human pyramids to get our way in this world; it is a very human thing to do. And it’s worked way too well!
Wherever Amin and his family fled, they had to fear the RULES and CUSTOMS of every country and nation where they had FLED desperately seeking safety… seeking a HOME.
How we treat the least of us is a global issue! Is there any place on Earth where humans have settled that can claim to be completely angelic and benevolent? Is there any nation, state, or city in the world from any time that has always made the right decisions at the right time, always and always and always… like a GOD or an angel?
I think my friend is a bit jealous of the USA’s status in the world because he knows his Functional Hierarchy is just a wish-dream. It is his performance; his great show in the world of men and their endless games of one-upmanships. Yes, indeed these are ships made out of thoughts built like pyramids. These Functional Vessels sail every day to the twin continents of Doom and Disaster.
This mansplayer knows very well where he’s going, and he also knows that he will never captain a ship as BIG as the Good’Old USA. But who cares?! He knows if he crows loud enough, long enough that we all just cry out: Hip, Hip Hooray–for that’s just what we say when another ship sets sail to the Land of Doom or Disaster!
Now, being pretty beyond pissed, I pressed him again:
I don't think you are really talking about hierarchies as how you explain it in the above comment.
Rather you are describing a Heterarchy, but this is your thinking and work, so you are absolutely free to name it whatever you like.
And, the And Now What? team looks exceptional
As for who would I select? There is absolutely no one I would select to form a team to transform the Good'Old USA. There is no way I am in a position to see, understand, or hear all the voices and ideas that would be necessary to do such a thing... this country will either survive or it will die, as things in this world have always done.
And to be clear... I am of the USA... but I am not of the fraction in the USA who are dead set... "to take-over by force" (as you put it) ...the rest of the world. Nor do I "fear losing the dominance" in the world, nor do I "take for granted" that the USA has dominance or that my Whiteness gives me privilege in the world as we know it. And, I am not alone in knowing this... and in the face of the pressure to conform to the Mold, I resist it, as do many others here in USA and as reports come on in Russia, despite the threat of death there, while here, it harassment, lost opportunities, and hate.
I must surmise your opinion of the United States is as low as your opinion is of Russia. I suspect you are implying that the US flows in the very same vein and mindset of World Domination and Control as Russia, China, North Korea, the unincorporated state of Trump, the unincorporated state of Elon Musk, and anyone else with power, authority, or money who can make others submit to them.
But be careful of over generalizing systems. They are always so much more complicated than you can fully see and comprehend. This is why I remain highly suspicious of hierarchies, even highly evolved, functional hierarchies, because when it comes down to it... it is only made up of men (and a few token women).
I might suggest that I am like a very small cell like an antibody reacting and responding to an overwhelming spiritual-psychological-psychic Viral Infection that seeks devastation and to do harm to pretty much anyone who is not on the "inside" of the infection.
And this infection is everywhere, not just Russia-USA, it is inside every human being on the planet, including myself... one can only acknowledge the infection is real, it is deadly, and it will not stop until human life is brought to its ultimate demise (self-inflicted and totally avoidable)...
I find by the way, the youngest humans among us are the wisest and healthiest. If I had to depend on someone to carry me to a safe spot because I ran out of energy (due to fighting against the overwhelming infection that I know is inside of me and everyone else and an infection that I know I cannot by myself overcome) I would choose the youngest among us in the infected country formerly known as the USA.
He responds with the infamous:
When people do this on FakeBook when there clearly is not a sickness, death, despair, or trauma, it means: “Fuck off” … with a smile.
By the way, Alan Watts says the best leaders are the most Selfish! What he means by this are individuals who have thought about what being Selfish means. Alan Watts says it so much better!
Anticipating Mansplayer would not be able to explain to me why I should trust a functional hierarchy to save the world, I did my own research. This is what I found.
Heterarchyvs Hierarchy vs Anarchy
In a hierarchy, if A is over B, and B is over C, then A is over C — your basic pecking order. In a heterarchy, though, you can have A over B, B over C, and C over A. Think of the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Paper covers rock; rock crushes scissors; scissors cut paper. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
“A heterarchy of values determined by the topology of nervous nets.” — Warren McCulloch’s 1945 essay
A HETERARCHICAL SYSTEM In a heterarchy, as opposed to a hierarchy, there is no “top” or “bottom” ranking. However, unlike in an anarchy, there is superiority and inferiority as each element is activated in some circumstances and inhibited in others. McCulloch calls these circular configurations of neurons: “dromes of diallels.”
Copyright Strat for 2016 www.stratfor.com
This is a fascinating article in Forbes: Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time. You need to read the whole thing yourself, if you are interested in this idea, but here are a few parts that really capture my excitement in discovering this word I did not know existed.
Interestingly enough -- and here's where both problems and possibilities start popping up -- this circular logic is identical to what Nobel economist Kenneth Arrow described as the "Voter's Paradox." The problem goes all the way back to the late 18th century when it was identified by Marquis de Condorcet. Consider the case in which one faction prefers candidate A over B and candidate B over C; a second, equal faction prefers B over C and C over A; and a third faction prefers, you guessed it, C over A and A over B. The choice that eventually gets made will not be a reflection of the real preference of the whole society, but will instead result from "irrational" and arbitrary issues like who voted first and who voted last. And over time and subsequent elections, the decision may cycle from one choice to another with no apparent reason. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
Why the quotation marks around "irrational"? Because in the analysis of the relationship between hierarchy and heterarchy, it is precisely the definition of what counts as rational that is at stake. As McCulloch explained:
“Circularities in preference instead of indicating inconsistencies, actually demonstrate consistency of a higher order than had been dreamed of in our philosophy. An organism possessed of this nervous system — six neurons — is sufficiently endowed to be unpredictable from any theory founded on a scale of values. It has a heterarchy of values, and is thus internectively too rich to submit to a summum bonum [highest good].”
Now there is a phrase to conjure with: "internectively too rich to submit to a summum bonum." This sounds like the Middle East. Or the geopolitical, global problematique. Or the Republican primaries in the United States. Or the problems of the European Union.
The problem with heterarchy, and the challenge to making it work, is not the lack of hierarchy, but too many competing hierarchies. And that's the reality we live in. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
"Heterarchy" is an unwieldy word. Our ongoing discussion group on making heterarchy work eventually abandoned the word when one of our members looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary and found the definition to be "rule by aliens." That's not what we meant at all. Despite its unwieldiness, and shadows of aliens, though, the term recommends itself for the way it mediates the dialectic between hierarchy and anarchy. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
As Francis Fukuyama showed in The Origins of Political Order, the first hierarchies were imposed by "strongmen" and then later justified by ancestor worship and a priestly caste. From all we can determine, primitive hunter-gatherer bands were heterarchical. Teamwork joining different skills was necessary to bag a woolly bison. But no one leader called for deference to a summum bonum.
With the transition from nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers to larger settlements with agricultural surpluses, patriarchy and hierarchy were required to maintain some degree of order. As my colleague in this space, Ian Morris, argues in his several books, the bargain we humans made with hierarchies might strike a visiting Martian as odd once it compares the life of the unencumbered hunter-gatherer with the lives of later citizens suborned under often onerous hierarchies. But once you start down that road toward hierarchy, from the point of view of defense and security, bigger is almost always better. So there is a natural logic of larger, more powerful hierarchies conquering and subsuming smaller, less powerful hierarchies.
Next thing you know, people are talking about "the American Century," or "the Chinese Century," as if it is perfectly natural that some nation must be number one. I recall an invitation to give a talk at Rand a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The concern at Rand was how to manage a "unipolar world" now that the bipolar order of the Cold War had come to an end. I tried to tell the researchers at Rand about heterarchy ... but they were not interested. There was a mindset there, a hierarchical mindset, that insisted that somebody must be "number one," and it better be us.
You see this mindset at play in the well-worn epithet of the lion as "king of the jungle." Who says that the jungle has to have a king? The jungle is not a political order, however many alpha male gorillas may roam its paths. The jungle is an ecology -- an incredibly complex web of metabolisms, relationships and interactions, some of which may be hierarchical. But there is no summum bonum in the jungle. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
Three Types of Hierarchies
Chapter 25 of Philip Bobbitt’s Shield of Achilles. In those 60 pages, Bobbitt develops three scenarios:
As you will not be surprised to hear, these scenarios and their names can be associated with certain geopolitical avatars, namely, North America for the wide open Meadow, Europe for the publicly managed Park, and East Asia for the ethnocentric Garden. "In a meadow all is profusion, randomness, variety. A park is for the most part publicly maintained, highly regulated with different sectors for different uses. A garden is smaller, more inwardly turned -- it aims for the sublime, not the efficient or the just."
Bobbitt then explores a range of drivers and trends, possible events and challenging decisions prior to the articulation of the three scenarios in which all of these elements play out in different ways. In my humble opinion, the truly remarkable climax of Bobbitt's very long book is the elegant construction of the heterarchy of choices playing out in the global geopolitical dynamic involving the United States, Europe and East Asia. -- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes -- 2/4/16
If you read this far, you should go to the full article: Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time by Jay Ogilvy | Forbes — 2/4/16 and read carefully all the possible scenarios of the three different ways the 3 different ways of organizing hierarchies interact and lead to global outcomes. . No wonder my ex-friend is terrified, but then again, he is trying to solve an impending cataclysm with yet another type of hierarchy.
Hmmm… yeah… like that is going to work after more than 5,000 years of increasingly dysfunctional myopic hierarchies!
For five centuries, the State has evolved according to epoch-making cycles of war and peace. But now our world has changed irrevocably. What faces us in this era of fear and uncertainty? How do we protect ourselves against war machines that can penetrate the defenses of any state? Visionary and prophetic, The Shield of Achilles looks back at history, at the “Long War” of 1914-1990, and at the future: the death of the nation-state and the birth of a new kind of conflict without precedent.
Mythos and Melodrama in the Philippines
Another thing about hierarchies is that they can go sideways fast. Big ones can. Little ones can. Corporate ones can. Non-profit ones can. Peace-loving ones can. Bottom line, if humans build a hierarchy to run something, it seems too tempting for humans not to take advantage of it.
Also, governments of any kind are dealing with a lot of information, pushes and pulls, demands, crises, polls, budgets, public opinion (that is by definition pretty variable depending on the day) and so many more things. So to take a country like Russia or the USA and make the comments my ex-fakebook friend said is a pretty naive and ignorant thing to say.
This episode on Throughline is very compelling. If you want to see how easy it is for a hierarchy to go sideways, listen to this one.
Corruption. Wealth. Authoritarianism. Torture. These are the words many people associate with Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines, and his wife, Imelda. But in 1965, on the day of his presidential inauguration, clad in bright white traditional Filipino clothing, Ferdinand and Imelda were the picture of hope and progress: the Camelot of the Philippines. They styled themselves as mythical figures with a divine right to rule, even as their democratic ascent reached a dictatorial peak.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled for two decades. And then, in 2022, more than thirty years after his death, the Philippines elected a new president: Ferdinand's son, Bongbong. Both in his campaign and since taking office, Bongbong has evoked the Marcos era as a golden age — effectively, rewriting history.
Welcome to the "Epic of Marcos." In this tale of a family that's larger than life, Ferdinand Marcos is at the center. But the figures that surround him are just as important: Imelda, his muse; Bongbong, his heir; and the United States, his faithful sidekick. The story of the Marcos family is a blueprint for authoritarianism, laying out clearly how melodrama, paranoia, love, betrayal and a hunger for power collide to create a myth capable of propelling a nation.
Today on the show, the rise, fall, and resurrection of a dynasty — and what that means for democracy worldwide.
The Freedom of Speech
Another thing about hierarchies is that they need to select and enforce the values that matter. But just as I was needling my ex-friend, how are these values selected? Are we conscious of them or not?
This episode of THROUGHLINE goes through the history and conscious and unconscious biases of the USA selecting and enforcing just one value: Freedom of Speech. If you are interested in this process, take a listen. It is worth your while!!
Book bans, disinformation, the wild world of the internet. Free speech debates are all around us.What were the Founding Fathers thinking when they created the First Amendment, and how have the words they wrote in the 18th century been stretched and shaped to fit a world they never could have imagined? It's a story that travels through world wars and culture wars. Through the highest courts and the Ku Klux Klan. What exactly is free speech, and how has the answer to that question changed in the history of the U.S.?
Most anarchists are disappointed hierarchists. From Mikhail Bakunin to Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, anarchists have taken potshots at the failings of hierarchy: They shoot holes in the purported legitimacy of exercises of authority, whether by the divine right of kings or the use of violence to impose subordination.
As Francis Fukuyama showed in The Origins of Political Order, the first hierarchies were imposed by "strongmen" and then later justified by ancestor worship and a priestly caste. From all we can determine, primitive hunter-gatherer bands were heterarchical. Teamwork joining different skills was necessary to bag a woolly bison. But no one leader called for deference to a summum bonum[the highest good, especially as the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system].
-- Heterarchy: An Idea Finally Ripe for Its Time
So in summary of the Forbe’s article and Throughline episode, hierarchies can be concluded understood as:
Organic vs Mechanical World View — More From Alan Watts
Throughout this series I have been trying to explain two fundamentally different ways of looking at our world, one characteristic predominantly of the West and the other of the East. And these might be called, respectively, the way of description as opposed to the way of seeing. The way, in other words, of understanding things in words or in terms contrasted with the way of understanding through looking and seeing a field or a subject totally all at once. Or you might call these the linear view (strung out in a line) or the total view (seeing all at once), or the serial view on the one hand as contrasted with the simultaneous view on the other. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, in classical Western science we have depended largely on this serial or analytic view, which understands the world by translating it into ideas, into words, or into, say, even series of numbers. The basic feature of it being that things are understood in a step-by-step way in sequence. And insofar as we constantly look at nature in that way, we tend to think of nature as something constructed—something, in other words, made or put together as we ourselves make and put things together through a series of steps. And perhaps this gives us the feeling that if we understood nature sufficiently, if we understood in full detail all the steps which go to the making of our universe, we could ourselves make it. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, it’s here, you see, that we get a very fundamental contrast between East and West, and especially through Chinese and Japanese ideas of the formation of nature. Because for them it seems extremely odd to think of nature as being constructed or made by a sort of step-by-step procedure.Their feeling is rather that the world and its forms are not so much constructed as grown. And one of the most important keys to an understanding of Far Eastern thought is to see the difference between a view of a constructed world and a grown world. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, to give a sort of crazy illustration of this: supposing I construct something—for example, an artificial flower—and you know, when you get instructions, how to do this, and you buy a book of do-it-yourself artificial flowers, you get a step-by-step procedure which tells you what to do. Step one: take a piece of wire with a black button and fix it to the end. Step two: take the stamens previously cut out and affix it to the button. Next step: insert a disk of sticky material, push the wire through the middle, and then affix the petals. Here they go. And notice that, as I put them on, I take them from outside and around me—things that are bits—and I bring these bits together to make the flower a construction, or whatever form it is that I’m intending to create. And so from going around to the center, from getting something that was previously pieces and bringing it all together, I get my flower. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
But now watch how an actual flower grows; how it starts, as it were, from the center. And it unfolds itself not bit by bit, but all the parts of the flower exfoliating together from the center outwards, in contrast to the making process, which goes from the outside inwards. From a situation where the parts are originally all apart (all in bits) and then assembled, contrasting with a situation where you have some simple beginning (like a seed or a bud), and as it expands it constellates or forms its own parts from within itself. And this is the fundamental process of natural growth. It’s in the same way that the human baby is formed within the womb. It’s in the same way that, if you watch crystals under a microscope forming a solution, you will notice the whole area of the crystal, the whole structure of the crystal, coming into being all together at once, and you will not see a kind of bit-by-bit assemblage which we use when we make machines or make houses or make tools. Even when we carve a block of wood—although the block of wood is not originally a lot of distinct parts, nevertheless we work upon it from the outside towards the inside, whereas all processes of growth go from the inside to the outside. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
Now, in our current scientific way of thinking in the West, this kind of growth, this kind of formation, is always talked about in terms of what we call field theory; fields of force. And I suppose one of the most striking exhibitions of what a field is can be seen in looking at the formation of magnetic lines of force in iron filings—as when we take filings that are not magnetized, just thrown chaotically over an area, and then, with the magnets underneath, notice that all the filings form together into a pattern, the whole area moving together, every single part of it simultaneously into its shape. And that shows us the whole nature of a field of force. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
(Blab, blab, blab…I skipped a lot of important stuff from his talk to get to the part that links up to my inquiry about hierarchies vs heterarchies, but what Watts says here is exactly what Jay Ogilvy is sharing in the article in Forbes)
And then, in turn, in the field there is a structure, and the structure of the field is thought of as governing the formation of the universe. And you may remember that, in the last program, I gave you a particular Chinese world which meant the basic pattern or order of the world. Do you remember this word, which is pronounced lǐ, and which had as its original meaning “the markings in jade,” “the fiber in muscle,” or “the grain in wood.” This word, then, designates the basic structure within the tao, within the fundamental field of the world, and thus its order—which can be, as it were, understood by looking at it, but is too complex, too much happening so fast all together at once, for us ever to be able to analyze it in the relatively clumsy language of words. Now thus, you see, it seems to us that that order is enormously complex. The order of nature, the order of beauty, the order of ethics—all these kinds of orders baffle us when we try to think about them bit by bit. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
But actually this order is only a complicated order when we try to think about it. I mean, it’s very simple, isn’t it, to drink water if you put it in a cup or a glass and toss it down. But it would be extraordinarily complex if one tried to drink water with a fork. And in the same way, the world and the order of the world, the activity within the field, seems incredibly complicated to us when we try to translate it into thinking and into words. But this, then, is the fundamental Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhist view of how the formations of the world arise. Not by a step-by-step process which can be put down in a line like the instructions for making the flower, but by something which happens spontaneously all together at once. -- Alan Watts | Organism Earth
For more on Mansplaining and Other cruel things people to on FAKEBOOK and other social media outlets, see:
All this writing about Transformation has made me remember that I wrote a blog about this very idea 6 years ago, way back when I started this blogging business (which is a pretty useless one at that).
One of my very early posts was titled Is Collective Transformation Possible? It was sandwich between my Girl With Dragon and Divine Dodo series. Also, I had just finished my Women’s March Documentary documenting why thousands (millions) of women and men around the world gathered to march against Trump and after doing all that work, well, yes, I was hoping some people would watch it…at least some of it…and commune with me about some of the really important issues people were bringing up. We all felt what TRUMP stood for and it was revolting. But no one really watched my documentary and NO ONE communed (communicated) with me about any of the issues explored in my Women’s March Documentary, except my REAL friends in Germany.
I joined hundreds of Facebook groups to meet liked-minded people who might care. It was so exciting and so hopefully for a minute, then my time of constriction came.
I knew it was coming. I could feel it. It had been building up for quite some time. But no one I was talking to then understood what I was talking about. I told this one group that felt itself to be an extremely rare group of enlightened beings, that I needed to go through a very small hole or to make a very difficult journey. They just smiled politely and said: “Oh, maybe you’re already on the other side? Maybe you’re already HERE!!”
And when my time of constriction gripped me with such despair that death sounded more pleasant that life and thoughts of violent murder and suicide floated continuously through my mind… all these NEW, hopeful, FAKE friends vanished like THE NOTHING. Many of my physical friends did too.
I was left to navigate my inner DARKNESS where a good part of my inner collective wanted me dead. I was drawing my journey. I was documenting my descent. But you know what Mansplanyer said to me at a point of crisis, a time when I simply needed a compassionate listener and occasional cheerleader? He told me he didn’t think the Dodo was a good look for me and I shouldn’t continue… people might get the wrong impressions!
Well…DUH, Duh, duh! Do you see what is happening to Dodo? He’s being crucified for GOD’s sakes! Don’t you think I know DEAD is not a GOOD look?
As my inner collective divided into fighting factions–some aspects of myself wanted to help me, other aspects not so much, my exterior collective crumbled as well. These were the real life people who said they were my friends but they dried up like the Great Salt Lake, leaving nothing to help me during a very difficult time–a kind word, likes of my blog posts, regular comments on my Facebook page–would have meant so much to me at this time.
The System of Facebook is not set up to operate with kindness and compassion. Rather it is set up for Performers to Perform.
I would soon learn all these “NEW” friends were FAKEFRIENDS. They were happy to court my attention IF (and only IF) I FOLLOWED THEM. The more blindly I followed, the more FAKE ATTENTION they might throw my way, and even that was ify. Most just had to be constantly admired!
This behavior is called Bread Crumbing or Baiting. It is an aspect of a significant psychological disorder called Narcissism. And FAKEBOOK is especially calculated up to cater to Narcissists and for people suffering from the opposite imbalance of this disorder: the ECHO Personality.
I was an echo that nobody missed when my voice began to fail and fade.
I chose to surround myself and to trust people who were nesting, in hollow holonic circular thoughts that spun round and round shrinking, sinking, shrieking point of consciousness that was cut off from true human understanding.
I pulled the Cloak of Darknessand Doubt over my own head and descended into HELL.
To be a genuine human being requires self-sacrifice. It requires suspension of thinking and judgement. It requires listening, sometimes for hours and hours and hours, as someone else wails in grief and despair due to the circumstance of their life. To be alive, to be a real authentic human being requires give and take… not just take, take, take… and abandoning others when they become a burden to you.
To be a trustworthy person, you have to be a person that another person can TRUST to be there when TIMES are TOUGH. This might require sitting for hours and hours in complete silence just being with another human being who is being crushed by their circumstances. It is only people who are capable of doing this who can be TRUSTED with AUTHORITY. Only people who other people can depend on to BE THERE when YOU NEED THEM can be trusted with the Authority to make decisions for the Greater Good, which might very well require the Sacrifice of Self.
Just like what is going on in Ukraine right now… hundreds of thousands of men and women are STANDING UP, STANDING AGAIST BRUTALITY… TO HELL with my MANSPLAYER ex friend who equates the USA with Russia! I STAND WITH UKRAINE! I stand with every person doing creative acts of resistance as well as every person fighting, killing other people to defeat Russia NOW!
This is the stuff my father did. He was never called to serve in a war. He was a listener. He provided compassionate assistance to anyone for as long as they needed it! He was a healer. He gave his time, his money, his life for others. This is how the world is saved… not by abandoning each other when we need each other the most because it takes too much TIME! Time is all we have… and how we value our time decides the type of world we live inside.
Saving the World is not the stuff being hocked on FakeBook or pretty much anywhere you look or turn for security and comfort (not comfortable but for solace and support) in our modern, overly complicated, pyramid-based world.
We made this world out of thoughts! It is a world that forces every civilized person to Hold the Mold of their cult–ture, of their caste, of their race (because the Modern World is extremely racists), of their economic situation, and of their place in the social order (all the hierarchies in which they live and must navigate to work, to play, to live).
The Modern World was built by narcissists to lift up narcissists that is why narcissist are rising to the Top of Likes like frothy bubbles on FakeBook, this is why they rise and hold the highest levels of power in almost every modern human civilization on Earth–each one built out of pyramid schemes. That is why everybody wants to be a narcissist in our world or at least they need to learn to play with narcissistic people and like it. Because that is how you wield POWER in the physical world NOW.
If you aspire to be a narcissist,FakeBook is the place for you! There are so many narcissists playing and sparring with each other on FakeBook. And there are so many echoes (like ME) attracted to all the glittery, sparkly thoughts, ideas, wishes, and dreamsthe narcissists spin. But, they are simply spinning hollow holonic nests of dead and dying thoughts. And the spinning of these expiring, nesting thoughts creates a vortex that has a suck. And if you get sucked into one of these vortex (most often it is one of your own making), you are heading straight down to HELL.
I knew what was happening to me, inside and outside of me, 6 years ago. And, The Dodo knew that I had pulled the Cloak of Darkness and Dark over my head. The Dodo knew I did this to myself, but the Dodo did not judge… he was just there providing glimmering specks of creative imagination, LIGHT—sparks of light (but not thinking light), that were guiding me through HELL.
And the Dodo was the one thing that Mansplayer didn’t want me to have. He told me to give up the Dodo, to stop drawing him!!! And, I did stop drawing him, but I also stopped following the Mansplayer. But I was still in HELL; however now, without my guide, the dumb, stupid Dodo! HELL is a place of our own making... HELL is where you doubt yourself! Doubt is the Dark Force!
In this old post where I wonder if Collective Transformation is possible, I provide a list and links to all the wonderful people I was meeting on Facebook 6 years ago. I cannot recommend any of these people today. Not the artists, musicians, or writers who are listed, but the people who made me DOUBT myself. These people I cannot recommend.
These people know who they are. They are the ones playing at DOING something to SAVE the WORLD. But they can’t even SAVE THEMSELVES much less take a MOMENT in their very busy days to HELP anyone else who is drowning.
“OH NO!” You’ll hear them yell. “I can’t stop. You’ll slow me down! You’re too much of a burden in this state of despair. I’m the only one who can SEE more, RUN faster, TRAVEL farther than ALL the REST!! I’m the only one who can SAVE the WORLD!!!!”
All of them yell this. Mansplayers and Womansplayers, there are hundreds of thousands of them all yelling different version of this chant night and day…telling you (begging you) to follow them! But the only place you are going to go if you follow them is down because without the super powers of kindness, compassion, love… these people, all of them, are just hypoallergenichollow holonic nesters spinning around and around a vortex of their own making, drilling deeper and deeper into the darkest parts of themselves on streams of endless thoughts.
You are MONSTERS…you people who pretended to care about me and then abandoned me when I really needed a helping hand. You, the ones who treated me as if I were the contagion, while in reality it is you suffering from the most prolific pandemic of our MODERN time: Narcissism and Supreme Ignorance created by OVERTHINKING. This is the Greatest EVIL of our TIME. We are all vulnerable to it but some fight it off better than others.
I don’t know how I survived this time. It lasted for more than 6 years! But the story that my very dear friend from college told me about her suicide attempt somehow stopped me from mine. Today, I don’t think Collective Transformation is possible, even though this is what my story is about. The one I have been writing since 2012.
Have a GREAT DAY! And, remember, GO FOR IT! Follow your passion and whatever you do, keep moving, don’t stop!
This story had a deep and lasting impact on me. I was a child when it came out. I loved it the most of all the Dr. Seuss books. But it also troubled me. It felt very different from The Cat In the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, or Oh the Places You’ll Go.
It felt like a puzzle that needed to be solved and time was running out!
I felt that the one word the Lorax leaves behind for the greedy, old Once-ler was the key to solving the puzzle! But, what does it mean? Unless…what?!!
Dr. Seuss tells us what the Once-ler thinks Unless means at the end of the story. The Once-ler thinks that unless someone like the boy cares a whole lot, the world will never change.
It seems so simple. Surely, I felt as a child, there are bunches of children just like me reading this book and understand the message and will care enough. Surely, we the kids of the 70s get it, and when we grow up, we will change the world and avoid catastrophe.
But, we didn’t. Here we all are, 52 years later, and the world has not changed course. It remains fixed on the same course that it was on back in the 70s when Seuss first published The Lorax. In fact, it feels that we are all speeding ever faster… and to what? The End?
Clearly, the Lorax means something entirely different in his silent message he leave to the selfish, self-absorbed Once-ler. Clearly, Unless means something different than what the Once-ler thinks. But what? What do we need to do as humans to avert total disaster… perhaps even the end of the world as we know it now?
Quick Recap of The Lorax
The young Once-ler arrives in the forest where the lovely Truffula Trees look like lollipops and the cute fuzzy Bar-ba-loots bears play alongside the beautiful Swomee-Swans birds and lovely humming fish!
But instead of seeing the incredible beauty all around him, the young Once-ler cuts down one of the incredible Truffula Trees and makes a Thneed!
What really?! A Thneed… this is the thing that everyone needs!
Dr. Seuss uses the Thneed as a symbol for the modern world’s obsession with fossil fuels. And Seuss is certainly right about this, gas-fuel-oil is truly something everyone needs in the world we have made.
There are lots of Once-lers in the modern world making millions and billions of dollars harvesting fossil fuels for all the things we need in our slick, fast-paced modern world!
The Lorax confronts the young Once-ler saying:
"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" —he was very upset as he shouted and puffed —"What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"
But the Once-ler does not hear the Lorax. Or rather he hears him but ignores him proclaiming he has a right to make money from the trees!
The Lorax rallies all the animals and tries again to make the young Once-ler listen and understand.
But there’s no stopping the happy young Once-ler. He cuts and chops and build a factory to make even more Thneeds! And then the Lorax is forced to come back and to tell him this:
'I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I'm also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loots suits and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits.'
Nope, the Once-ler won’t listen. He builds an even bigger factory, and one even bigger than that one.
Soon, the Lorax comes back with another dire message telling the Once-ler:
"Once-ler!You're making such smogulous smoke!My poor Swomee-Swans...why, they can't sing a note!No one can sing who has smog in his throat."
The Once-ler shrugs and continues chopping down the beautiful Truffula Trees and making a Thneeds.
The Lorax returns again. Now it is the Humming-Fish who can no longer hum.
This time the Once-ler gets mad and shouts:
'Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say, 'Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!' Well, I have my rights sir, and I'm telling you I intend to go on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I'm figgering on biggering and biggering and biggering and biggering, turning MORE Truffual Trees into Thneeds which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!'
Not long after this the Lorax does the thing that sticks in my mind and haunts me to this day. He builds a small platform underneath the Once-ler’s factory, waits for the Once-ler to look out, then without a word, the Lorax picks up the seat of his pants and flies away disappearing through the last blue hole in the polluted, ugly sky… and that is that… Unless...
So What Did the Lorax Mean?
Dr. Suess says many years after the last Truffula Tree is chopped down, the now very old Once-ler thinks the word Unless means:
But, it hasn’t worked. Hope is not enough. To fix this mess, it take action.
Are We Even Capable of Changing Our Fate?
Do we really need to destroy our planet before we care enough about it to fix it?
I know, I know, the seed the Once-ler throws down to the boy is a symbol of hope and we all need hope to Do The Right Thing. But quite honestly, do we really know what the right thing is that we should be doing?
And nature will do just fine after humans are gone. Kind of like 2067, an Australian SciFi film, where that is exactly what happens.
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten Writer/Director: Seth Larney By the year 2067, Earth has been ravaged by climate change and humanity is forced to live on artificial oxygen. An illness caused by the synthetic O2 is killing the worlds’ population and the only hope for a cure comes in the form of a message from the future: “Send Ethan Whyte”. Ethan, an underground tunnel worker, is suddenly thrust into a terrifying new world full of unknown danger as he must fight to save the human race.
I think the Lorax is telling us something else. I think the Lorax is warning us about ourselves and that Unless we learn how to let go of bad ideas, we are doomed to create the world we are speeding ever faster towards making. The one that will kill us.
What Is the Lorax Warning UsAbout Ourselves?
I think it is Shame; toxic shame to be specific.
Shame is an emotion of civilizations. We feel shame, and it is necessary to feel it. Feeling ashamed motivates us to improve ourselves. It motivates us to take care of the people around us, so that we to treat them with kindness, dignity, and respect.
No one wants to feel shame. Of all human emotions, shame is perhaps the hardest one to endure. Because of this, it is one of the scariest, most loathed, most feared emotion in our human tool box.
If shame had a color it would be the color of pee. Listen to Snap Judgement, and you’ll understand.
Actress Diona Reasonover was on the brink of her big break. But she never expected it to happen while she was on her vacation.
Diona Reasonover is an actress who lives in LA, you can check out her writing on “I Love You America” with Sarah Silverman on Hulu.
Produced by Adizah Eghan
Note: Diona had a knee injury and could not make it to the bathroom on the plane before others beat her to it. Then, the plane begins to descend and the flight attendant not very understanding. So you’ll need to listen to how Diona solves her dilemma.
The episode before this one is worth a listen too: Date With The Devil. This one touches on the topic of how ee always hear about the people who survive a disaster and who often give credit Jesus or God for their good fortune, but we never hear about the people who made the exact same calculations, believe just as much in a higher power, but ended up dead.
I think we have become a bit lopsided in thinking about our survival as individuals and as a species when we hear only miraculous stories of good fortune, good luck, or good timing that allows a person to avert a tragedy.
But what about the people who don’t avert disaster? What about the people who get killed?
D. Parvaz touches on this in a very different story. It is a scary, tormented, horrifying, heart-wrenching story about people (through no fault of their own) do not make it. Indeed, they are murdered by monsters. That’s what humans become when they don’t digest and assimilate all of who they are as a human being. This means seeing the good in one’s self as well as the bad in one’s self. And yes, shame is one of those things.
People who refuse to feel their shame, fear, guilty, or whatever makes them uncomfortable will project them onto other people. People who don’t feel shame will do shameful things, horrendous things. They are no longer human because they have thrown half of who they are away.
So, don’t thrown your shame away! You need it. You really, really do… and the Lorax understood how desperately humans need to feel shame and other parts of themselves that make them truly capable of being human.
John Amodeo (a psychotherapist for over 40 years) describes that how not dealing with our feelings of shame there are far-reaching, destructive consequences.
He says, “When shame lurks outside of our awareness, it can become the driving force behind the destructive rage, blame, and violence that is damaging our world.”
Have you ever encountered someone who is boiling with a seething rage bubbling just under their human-looking skin but really what is lurking underneath is a monster ready to explode at the drop of a pin?
A teenage honor student who knocked on the wrong door was shot.
Cheerleaders who accidentally opened the wrong door of a car late at night are shot.
Teenagers who pulled into the wrong driveway and were turning around were shot, one died.
Children playing basketball and their ball rolls into a neighbors lawn are shot at, one father lost a lung after getting shot in the back.
Amodeo describes shame as the felt sense of being defective and inadequate: “it as an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
Shame has also been defined by Gerhsen Kaufman as a breaking of the interpersonal bridge. As human beings wired for connection, we dread isolation. Children fail to thrive when they don’t feel a safe and secure connection with caregivers. When healthy attachment is ruptured, a child feels unworthy of love and acceptance. This unbearable shame can lead to a mad scramble to prove our worth in distorted ways that often dehumanize others.
In a 2016 article, shame expert Bret Lyon, who leads Healing Shame trainings, describes how intolerable shame can be transferred to others:
“Driven by the need to keep the feelings of shame at bay and away from themselves, people can exult in their contempt and cynicism—finding a curious kind of gratification in it… In extreme cases, runaway contempt can cause people to lose sight of another’s humanity. Even their right to exist. This has led to extreme behavior, in Germany and many other places.”
Amodeo drives home the point of toxic shame, the very same one that I think the Lorax is trying to drive home to us with his message Unless. Amodeo writes:
When the drive toward personal “success” or being superior becomes dissociated from our humanity, we seek gratification in ways that will never really satisfy us. We become disconnected from our souls, as our innate longing for love and connection curdles into a desire for status, money, or power. These substitute ways to seek gratification often spiral out of control—taking us on a perilous journey away from our fellow humans—and away from our true selves. This desire for a narrow self-gratification overlooks the reality that we are inescapably interconnected.
We can observe this shame-driven dynamic in our fraught politics, where looking good replaces being good (truly caring about others). We can see it in political and business leaders competing to amass the greatest wealth and power, which often translates into a race to see who can be the most contemptuous and divisive.
Some political leaders—and followers who relish the thrill of belonging to a group that has special knowledge and that is superior to others—have so thoroughly dissociated from their vulnerability, their humanity,their hearts, and their souls, that they have no compunction to deny the rights of others, or, as we've seen in Ukraine and elsewhere, committing atrocities without any healthy shame to check their behavior.
The Big Choice
So… what are we going to do? Are we going to save our beautiful world full of life or are we all going to drown in a Yellow Sea of Seething Shame?
This is a job that requires every person on the planet to do. Every living individual needs to claim their shame and proclaim proudly: “I am human! I do stupid things! I learn from them! I become a better human because I use my shame to grow!”
Or, you can lock yourself inside a dilapidated husk of what used to be your humanity… deny your shame, cast it onto everyone else around you as you fake being a perfect human being.
But, your performance is nothing more than a rickety, glittery, shiny shell of who you used to be. Inside there is nothing to balance you out and make you human. You have become hollow; a garden hose flowing with seething shame disguised as rage.
On A Related Note
My college roommate from College of the Atlantic shared this story. It is closely related to the responsibility of each and every person to do the invisible work of sustaining and maintaining psychological as well as social health, which takes daily work.
Kicked out of the university lecture
Subject: Legal studies.
The professor enters the lecture hall.He looks around.
"You there in the 8th row. Can you tell me your name?" he asks a student.
"My name is Sandra" says a voice.
The professor asks her, "Please leave my lecture hall. I don't want to see you in my lecture."
Everyone is quiet. The student is irritated, slowly packs her things and stands up.
"Faster please" she is asked.
She doesn't dare to say anything and leaves the lecture hall.
The professor keeps looking around.
The participants are scared.
"Why are there laws?" he asks the group.
All quiet. Everyone looks at the others.
"What are laws for?" he asks again.
"Social order" is heard from a row
A student says "To protect a person's personal rights."
Another says "So that you can rely on the state."
The professor is not satisfied.
"Justice" calls out a student.
The professor smiling. She has his attention.
"Thank you very much. Did I behave unfairly towards your classmate earlier?"
"Indeed I did. Why didn't anyone protest?
Why didn't any of you try to stop me?
Why didn't you want to prevent this injustice?" he asks.
"What you just learned you wouldn't have understood in 1,000 hours of lectures if you hadn't lived it. You didn't say anything just because you weren't affected yourself. This attitude speaks against you and against life. You think as long as it doesn't concern you, it's none of your business. I'm telling you, if you don't say anything today and don't bring about justice, then one day you too will experience injustice and no one will stand before you. Justice lives through us all. We have to fight for it."
“In life and at work, we often live next to each other instead of with each other. We console ourselves that the problems of others are none of our business. We go home and are glad that we were spared. But it's also about standing up for others. Every day an injustice happens in business, in sports or on the tram. Relying on someone to sort it out is not enough. It is our duty to be there for others. Speaking for others when they cannot.”
-- Shared by Liza Hall -- 12/4/22
Feature Archetypal Animation
Music:How Bad Can I Be (From “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”) — Geek Music
Description: This episode was published days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and just weeks after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. It is the first part in Afghanistan: The Center of the World, our Peabody Award-winning series about Afghanistan, focused on the country and its people.
Afghanistan has, for centuries, been at the center of the world. Long before the U.S. invasion — before the U.S. was even a nation — countless civilizations intersected there, weaving together a colorful tapestry of foods, languages, ethnicities and visions of what Afghanistan was and could be. The story of Afghanistan is too often told from the perspective of outsiders who tried to invade it (and always failed) earning it the nickname “Graveyard of Empires.” In this episode, we’re shifting the perspective. We’ll journey through the centuries alongside Afghan mystical poets. We’ll turn the radio dial to hear songs of love and liberation. We’ll meet the queen who built the first primary school for girls in the country. And we’ll take a closer look at Afghanistan’s centuries-long experiment to create a unified nation.
Description: This episode was published days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and just weeks after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. It is the first part in Afghanistan: The Center of the World, our 2022 Peabody Award-winning series about Afghanistan, focused on the country and its people.
How did a small group of Islamic students go from local vigilantes to one of the most infamous and enigmatic forces in the world? The Taliban is a name that has haunted the American imagination since 2001. The scenes of the group’s brutality repeatedly played in the Western media, while true, perhaps obscure our ability to see the complex origins of the Taliban and how they impact the lives of Afghans. It’s a shadow that reaches across the vast ancient Afghan homeland, the reputation of the modern state, and throughout global politics. At the end of the US war in Afghanistan we go back to the end of the Soviet Occupation and the start of the Afghan civil war to look at the rise of the Taliban.
The Tao is like an empty container: it can never be emptied and can never be filled. Infinitely deep, it is the source of all things. It dulls the sharp, unties the knotted, shades the lighted, and unites all of creation with dust.
It is hidden but always present. I don’t know who gave birth to it . It is older than the concept of God.
Conservatives have long invoked the specter of the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs. Sandford in their fight against abortion rights, likening embryos and fetuses to slaves with no due process. Progressives now, too, are drawing parallels between the stripping of rights from people who may get pregnant and the infamous majority opinion penned by then-Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote, "a Black man has no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
Missing from this historic analogy, however, are the experiences of Black women, whose enslavement and forced reproduction was fundamental to America's rise. We speak with Dr. Deborah Gray White, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, about this not-so-distant history and the possibilities it holds for all American women.
My take away: In the wake of Roe vs Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court, Deborah Gray White was watching the dystopian story the Handmaid’s Tale with her daughter who said, “Oh my God, we’re becoming this!” Deborah replied, “We already are this. America has used black and brown women as reproductive commodities since its founding. What’s changing is now white women are getting closer to becoming commodities again.”
Alok Vaid-Menonis a gender non-conforming writer and performer who grew up in Texas to Indian immigrant parents. They use their creativity and platform to explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging, advocating and bringing visibility to the trans community. We speak with Alok about their work and advocacy, and what they learned from their aunt, Urvashi Vaid, the beloved LGBTQ rights activist who spent more than a decade working for equality at the National LGBTQ Task Force.
My take away from this amazing interview: The gender non-conforming community is showing the world how to love during a time of great division, growing hate, tremendous suffering, and huge oceans of human anxiety.
We talk about changing the Constitution and what comes next after the reversal of Roe.
This conversation is part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations around the country. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
My take away: I loved listening to Olatunde Johnson, professor at Columbia University School of Law | The United States Constitution was made by a bunch of slave owning, patriarchal, misogynistic pale males. It is ludicrous to think we cannot update or change it as our society changes and grows. This is what overturning Roe vs Wade is about. This is what Jan. 6, 2021 is about. It is about a bunch of people who want to live 18th Century lives in the 21st Century.
On June 11, 2022, the Washington, DC 2022 Capital Pride Parade began with full regalia and ceremony followed by rowdydow fun and celebration. This is the first of four videos from this day.
For the video, I wrote this:
Today was like walking into a rainbow. After more than 2 years due to COVID, the WDC Pride Parade of 2022 took place in an embrace of joy and celebration. It was one big mass of human exuberant celebration. Such a different energy than the Trump rallies that twisted and deformed into the raging, dangerous mob of Jan. 6, 2021.
I filmed one of the earlier Trump rallies, and I filmed one of the Black Lives Matter marches after the murder of George Floyd. The paranoia and double-standard of the Trump years faded to a distant unpleasant memory in the embrace of so many people celebrating differences, diversity, and inclusiveness.
What kind of world do we want?
Do we want one that is angry, overly righteous, mostly white men who want to control women's bodies and turn America into a desolate land of mediocrity and conformity?
Or do we want one that celebrates diversity, lifts up inclusivity, and makes space for everyone to shine their truth and colors as they feel them?
I choose the rainbow hands down over The Divine Republic of Gilead as depicted in Canadian author Margaret Atwood futuristic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale that feels more and more possible each passing day, especially since the Trump years that made hate great again in America.
Hate is not what makes us a great nation: Love is what makes us great and moments like this Parade are more important than ever, especially with the plotters of Jan. 6 still scheming how to turn America into a totalitarian state like Russia...
I suppose so we could exterminate the world in a mutual annihilation of scapegoats because that is what cheap, cowardly, hate filled people do...blame everyone else for their problems and who they really are inside.
This is the inspiration for this blog: the idea of diversity and the mutual arising of opposite things in the world because on this same day, 31 members from the group Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho.
Pride Parade in Idaho
Thirty-one men, faces covered with masks and carrying baseball bats stood packed in the back of a U-Haul like illegal immigrants sneaking into the state. The truck was heading to the Pride Parade in the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Their purpose was to start a riot.
Police said the men came from at least 10 states. They are members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front, previously known as the white nationalist hate group Vanguard America. It rebranded itself after a neo-fascist was photographed holding their shield just before he ran his car into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA.
Interview with Mother of One of the Men Arrested
Earlier this week, a mother of one of the men arrested gave an interview with Sara Sidner.
From the video above: When "a little army" of men with shields and other riot gear was spotted near a Pride parade in Idaho on Saturday, authorities soon linked the men to a relatively new White nationalist group and charged them with conspiracy to riot. Most of the men arrested had logos on their hats "consistent with the Patriot Front group," and some had other clothing associated with the White supremacist group, Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said. CNN’s Sara Sidner reports
This Same Hate Perpetuates Racism & Wars
This is the same hate that fuels racism and perpetuates continuing inequalities and brutality against black and brown people in the United States. Slavery is barbaric, and so too is racism. Americans went to war and died over ending slavery in America. This war began on April 12, 1861 and lasted until April 9, 1865. In the end, more than 620,000 men were dead, roughly 2% of the U.S .population.
However, this is far less dead than the number of men, women, and children who died being transported from Africa to America, who died as slaves from violence and mistreatment, and who have died since emancipation due to the continuing violent beliefs and hate embraced by white supremacy.
Black Live Matter March
Photos From Gettysburg National Military Park
Emancipation Proclamation & Juneteeth
Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It was the most ambitious push of General Robert E. Lee into the North. Each side fought fiercely. This battle turned out to be the turning point of the war. It is also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address.
Word of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans finally reached Texas on June 19, 1865 where people were still being held as slaves. More than 150 years later, Juneteenth has finally been made a federal holiday commemorating and remembering the legacy of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in America.
Yet, this horrible battle still rages in the hearts and minds of far too many white Americans still to this very day. Hate still has a home in America.
Photos From Gettysburg National Military Park
One of Trump’s Rallies After Losing the 2020 Election
A Call To All Humans Who Value Freedom and Democracy
This Arises… That Becomes
I finally came to understand the idea of This Arises… That Becomes… from a lecture Alan Watts gave.
It is the basic principle of dependent origination as described by Buddha. In Buddhist doctrines, it is called Pratītyasamutpāda.
Pratītyasamutpāda consists of two terms:
Pratītya: "having depended." The term appears in the Vedas and Upanishads[note 2] in the sense of "confirmation, dependence, acknowledge origin". The Sanskrit root of the word is prati* whose forms appear more extensively in the Vedic literature, and it means "to go towards, go back, come back, to approach" with the connotation of "observe, learn, convince oneself of the truth of anything, be certain of, believe, give credence, recognize". In other contexts, a related term pratiti* means "going towards, approaching, insight into anything".Samutpāda: "arising", "rise, production, origin" In Vedic literature, it means "spring up together, arise, come to pass, occur, effect, form, produce, originate".Pratītyasamutpāda has been translated into English as dependent origination, dependent arising, interdependent co-arising, conditioned arising, and conditioned genesis.[note 3]
Jeffrey Hopkins notes that terms synonymous to pratītyasamutpāda are apekṣhasamutpāda and prāpyasamutpāda.
The term may also refer to the twelve nidānas, Pali: dvādasanidānāni, Sanskrit: dvādaśanidānāni, from dvāvaśa ("twelve") + nidānāni (plural of "nidāna", "cause, motivation, link").[quote 2]Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidānas.
Dependent origination is a philosophically complex concept, subject to a large variety of explanations and interpretations. As the interpretations often involve specific aspects of dependent origination, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive to each other.
One interpretation (which I feel is closest to what Alan Watts refers to in his talk) regards this doctrine…
...as describing the arising of mental processes and the resultant notion of "I" and "mine" that leads to grasping and suffering. Several modern western scholars argue that there are inconsistencies in the list of twelve links, and regard it to be a later synthesis of several older lists and elements, some of which can be traced to the Vedas.
Rocks of Ignorance & Rainbow Flags
In other words, we only know inclusivity and love in comparison to callousness and hate. Like a river diverted by a rock–some water flows to the right, some flows to the left. The rock in the river is an idea, a symbol of reality, but it is not reality. Indeed, all words, all thoughts, all ideas are poor substitutes to what is really going on in life.
What should be noted is that both streams flowing around the rock are of the same river of being. They are only being briefly divided and diverted by a rock of thought that got lodged in the river of being.
Maybe, One Day
Another way of looking at this idea is that inclusivity and love are the polar opposites of callousness and hate. Although opposites, both qualities and ways of being in the world go together just as a magnet has a North and South pole. If you chop a magnet in half, there is still a North Pole and a South Pole because a magnet is one cohesive whole thing.
Since I choose to support rainbows and Pride Parades, I stand on this side of our polarized America. It is a conscious choice to flow in the stream of being that includes rainbows and diversity. And it means I am making a conscious choice to embrace all sorts of people and their differences as well as recognize how similar we are because deep, deep down I believe what Alan Watts says that we are the fabric of existence itself.
Maybe one day, we can let go of our rocks of ignorance that we cling to for security and comfort. By letting go, we can grow as a species. And if we grow, we might be able to really feel one day our oneness with each other and all life on this planet. When rocks of thought due appear in our river of being, we can better navigate the currents of division driving us apart and pushing the entire world to a tipping point that we may not recover from due to a mutual massacre of scape goats.
Maybe one day we will know we are all part of the stream of humanity no matter our skin color, sexual preference, our religious beliefs. It has always been this way. It is only when we cling to our rocks of thoughts and rocks of ignorance, which if we are constantly anxious, nervous, angry, and afraid–we are clinging to an idea, which is one of these rocks dividing us and causing so much suffering and pain in the world.
The intersection of gay rights, racism, and white supremacy continue intersecting through time. Will we ever grow up as a species to embrace and hold all of who we are as human beings? Or will we simply continue to label, divide, and conquer each other with hate and despair? See Hate Arises… Rainbows Become… to explore more on these ideas.
We stopped at Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania on our way up for our daughter’s graduation from Middlebury College in Vermont. It was late in the day, cloudy with a little drizzle–perfect weather to walk the roughly 6000 acres of historical pasture and woodlands where Union and Confederate soldiers met in General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North.
It was the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, and the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”.
My husband found a monument dedicated to the 13th and 16th Vermont regiments. From their forward position, the nearly 1,500 men of these regiments poured devastating point-blank fire into the enemy ranks. They inflicted terrible casualties and ravaged the Confederate flank. The battle that was going in favor of the Confederate side began to slip. The Vermonters helped turn the tide of the battle and because of this win, turn the tide of the war itself. It would turn out that we were staying in a valley from where one of these regiments came from in Vermont.
Today, in 2022, it seems like the battle that took place on July 1, 1863, occurred so long ago and that the wounds inflicted from a country being torn apart by different ideas and ideals of how to live a good and just life would be long healed. The pictures of the wildflowers and wildlife are a testament to time and nature’s ability to regenerate.
However, the human heart and soul seems to still be torn and hurt. There are people alive today ready to do damage and tear apart America’s delicate democracy. There are people willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get more than they deserve or inflict their own will on the will of the people. Democracy isn’t easy. It requires compromise, and word that seems to have disappeared from American political and culture vocabulary. It does not require every share the exact same beliefs or values, but it does require tolerance and willingness to learn about the beliefs and values of people who are different from oneself. It requires curiosity and a basic agreement of facts and shared reality.
Will America be able to keep this fragile flower of self-governance in the face of a Republican Party that prefers to stick to loyal tests rather than truth, in the aftermath of Jan. 6, in the ongoing disenfranchisement and brutality to African Americans and any people with a darker skin tone, in the double standard that it is OK to regulate a woman’s body, but it is not alright to regulate guns?
“Every day, on average, 316 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention.” — Team ENOUGH
“Guns have become the leading cause of death for American kids. early two-thirds of the 4,368 U.S. children up to age 19 who were killed by guns in 2020 were homicide victims, per the CDC. Motor vehicle crashes, formerly the leading cause of death for kids one and older, killed nearly 4,000 children.” — Axios
If you are upset by these statistics, by politics, by anything that gets you shouting at your TV or computer screen. It is time to get outside. If you find yourself getting enraged by a rainbow flag celebrating Pride Month or want to join the next raiding party of the Capitol, why not try going to a place like Gettysburg? Walk the park rather than drive. Let yourself sink into the blood-soaked earth where flowers now grow and birds once again sing. Talk to the park rangers, read about what happened, feel yourself being transported back to that time when the sound of gun fire and exploding canon balls rang continuously like a speeding train.
War is bloody. Conflict kills. There are other ways to solve conflict arising from diversity. We have one of those ways. It is called Democracy.
The people of Ukraine are fighting fiercely for this way of organizing society. They are showing us what it means and takes to defend freedom, liberty, and justice for all against a brutal, totalitarian regime; a regime that lies to its people, that exterminates anyone who becomes a threat to it, that concentrates wealth and power among a very few.
In America today, it seems we are choosing whether to stay a democracy, which means making room for tolerance and compromise again. Or will we choose to become a dictatorial regime (like Russia) where lies and distortions are used to whip up dissent and division so that truth, justice, and liberty for all becomes a distant dream.
Stay Human! Go outside today and hug another living being!
Ancient wisdom blended with modern images and music.
When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created. When people see things as good, evil is created.
First Stanza & Archetypal Animation
Being and non-being produce each other. Difficult and easy complement each other. Long and short define each other. High and low oppose each other. Fore and aft follow each other.
Second Stanza & Archetypal Animation
Therefore the Master can act without doing anything and teach without saying a word. Things come her way and she does not stop them; things leave and she lets them go. She has without possessing, and acts without any expectations. When her work is done, she takes no credit. That is why it will last forever.
The Tao Te Ching was written around 400 BCE by Laozi (also written as Lao Tzu). He is the founder of Taoism, which is one of the philosophies flourishing during the time in China known as the time of The Hundred Schools of Thought, which thrived from the 6th century BCE to 221 BCE.
According to Mozi, another of China’s great philosophers born c. 470 BCE and died to c. 391 BCE, the achievement of social goals necessitates the unity of thought and action by the people and their rulers. His political philosophy bears a resemblance to divine-rule monarchy: the population ought always to obey its leaders, as its leaders ought always follow the will of heaven.
He is the first major intellectual to rival Confucius, founding the school of Mohism during this period of The Hundred Schools of Thought. His teaching have been summed up into 10 theses that have since been extensively argued. His most famous these is that of:
Jian’ai: This is the injunction that one ought to be concerned for the welfare of people in a spirit of “impartial concern” (jian’ai) that does not make distinctions between self and other, associates and strangers, a doctrine often described more simplistically as “universal love.” -- Encyclopedia of Philosophy
It would not be long before how well the leaders of the people would (or could) follow the will of heaven would be tested.
The Rise of Strongmen and Ruthless Rulers
Qin Shi Huang is the second of the Ruthless Rulers I highlight in my book Sapience: The Moment is Now (not yet published, but soon).
He is the first of the feudal kings of China to conquer all of the Warring States in 221 BCE, which included six dynasties, to create the Qin Dynasty. These territories include most of what we consider modern China today. Upon doing this, he declared himself the first emperor of China and assumed a title implying he possessed divine powers. He begins his rule by persecuting monks and philosophers, which cumulates in the burning of the books and termination of the Hundred Schools of Thought.
"Beginning in 213 BCE, all classic works of the Hundred Schools of Thought — except those from Li Ssu's own school of philosophy known as legalism — were subject to book burning. "Qin Shi Huang burned the other histories out of fear that they undermined his legitimacy, and wrote his own history books. -- History of Information
It is a pattern that has repeated itself over and over and over again since the first Ruthless Ruler walked the Earth. The inability of the people to tolerate diverse groups of thoughts seems to lie at the heart of how and why Ruthless Rulers rise to power.
And yet walking alongside Ruthless Rulers are men and women of rich intellectual mastery and wisdom such as Mozi and Confucius, Plato and Aristotle, Laozi and Zhuangzi who are only a few of individuals who have delved deeply into the human psyche and wrestled with the unknowable.
More than any time in our collective history, we need so many more people to take the plunge and do the same. To wrestled with the monsters that live inside all of us. We need groups of people in greater numbers than ever before to contemplate, debate, mutter and muster greater understanding for the tremendous diversity of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies we are capable of conceiving and creating into reality using nothing more than our minds to imagine something different than nature would have previously allowed to exist. We must work and stretch our minds far beyond the simple ploys Strongmen use to generate arguments and embed slogans into minds meant to bend the into little boxes that are easy to control and use like disposable commodities.
This is what Strongmen do, as they endlessly dream of becoming the next great Ruthless Ruler.
We see it playing out again, right here, right now, in our own countries wherever they are as the tide of intolerance, bigotry, racism, nationalism, patriotism, partisanism sweep strongmen into powerful positions–Jair Bolsonaro, Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen, Rodrigo Duterte, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, Putin, and formerly Trump.
They use righteous ideas and righteous talk like jack hammers that steadily chip away at the unity of thought and action Mozi talked about centuries ago as essential for collective good of all. When their speech doesn’t flame the right pit of emotion and opposition arises, they use violence (if they canget away with it) to silence those who don’t agree with them.
Will we let ourselves be torn to pieces by ideas and thoughts flung about by Strongmen and Ruthless Ruler? It always ends the same way. They reign with terror tearing down and destroying anything good and wholesome a country or group of people has managed to achieve, turning on those who turn against them, annihilating anyone or anything who dares to question them. They tell their followers they have been sent here on a divine mission, they have been sent by God, or indeed, they are God and everyone must bend down before them.
It is for this reason I will highlight parts of Laozi’s book written so many centuries earlier. A man who was believed by the people to be a god and worshipped, though I suspect Laozi would have tolerated this as a bit foolish…he knew he was a man with faults and foibles…that is what his teachings are about navigating the stream we call ourselves full of faults and foibles, wisdom and knowledge, danger and destruction. He advocated the middle way. His system of thinking would serve modern men and women well right now in the dangerous tides we ourselves have created and now must swim.
Here is his first chapter of his masterpiece of thinking animated with modern images and music from our time now.
Chapter 1 — Tao Te Ching
First Archetypal Animation & Stanza
The tao that can be described is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be spoken is not the eternal Name.
Second Archetypal Animation & Stanza
The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of creation.
Third Archetypal Animation & Stanza
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery. By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.
Scott Simon talks with Hernan Diaz about his novel, “Trust.” It tells the story of a New York tycoon who takes advantage of the 1929 crash, and his attempts to rewrite and control his own story. In this interview, Diaz tells Scott that power is the ability to bend reality and shape what others perceive as real. Power imposes someone else’s reality onto others. Wealth and money (and the desire to get more money) does this to people. They burn with the desire to have more of that kind of power over others. Great fortunes create a reality in and of themselves that others are eager to have a part or piece of.
From workplaces to schools to national governments, leaders everywhere are being called on to solve complex problems with humility and bravery. This hour, we consider what it takes to be a leader. Guests include executive coach Patrice Gordon, organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, and educator Shabana Basij-Rasikh.
I found the first interview particularly compelling as the speaker relates our ancient programming to have strong men leading a tribe or clan. These were times when groups were small and all members knew the integrity of every other member and whether they could be trusted or not. However, as our small bands and groups of people surviving together against vast and overwhelming odds have grown into vast civilizations, the qualities of a good ruler have shifted tremendously.
A good ruler today does not act on gut instinct, as would have been the right thing to do 10,000 years ago. A good ruler today actually must go against gut instinct to grasp the greater complexities of our modern realities and make more calculated, incremental moves that benefits all members of the collective, even those who are against the leader. But as people electing who to rule us, we are still vastly informed by our own gut instincts and emotions choosing ruler who we feel we could have beer with rather than rulers who could stare down the missile silo of a narcissist idiot threatening to use nuclear weapons on the world.
“The World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland, 2019 – an exclusive event where the world’s richest and most powerful people get together to solve the world’s problems. I was there when David Attenborough, you know, was showing his new film. The Garden of Eden is no more. Beautiful – you know, absolutely beautiful, stunning footage of how we’re wrecking the planet. And people were literally crying while they were seeing it. And I was thinking, but, guys, you arrived here in your private jets.”
Why does Russia's massive and powerful military force continue to struggle against a smaller, less well-equipped opponent? Journalist David Volodzko wrote about this in a recent piece in The Daily Beast titled "The Embarrassing Truth Behind Putin's War Failures." He says the Russians appear not to have internalized the lessons they could have learned during other conflicts, particularly the civil war in Syria, where Russia backed the government of dictator Bashar al-Assad. -- MICHEL MARTIN, HOST
The problem is, in April 2021, I believe, the company that makes the Azart and its owner, Leonid Reiman, who's the former minister of communications, came under investigation for fraud. They had evidently been using cheap Chinese parts. This led to a bunch of problems, including the batteries didn't really work that well. So they've had to switch instead, and they're largely using mobile phones and things of that nature. And this is just one example of how corruption has left Putin and his army out in the open, in a sense, and exposed. -- DAVID VOLODZKO
I think that we all have overestimated Russia's military capabilities. And, I would add, I think that Putin did, too. One point that I make in the piece is that Moscow recently purged 150 Federal Security Service agents, and they sent the head of the FSB's fifth service, which handles counterinsurgency ops in Ukraine, to Lefortovo Prison. Now, there's a couple different theories as to why, and I'm inclined to go with the official explanation on this one, which is that Beseda lied to the state and stole funds. -- DAVID VOLODZKO
So again, as with the radio communications issue, we see corruption coming back to bite Russia. And as a consequence of that, Putin may have gone in on bad intel, thinking that the Ukrainians were going to be waiting with flowers instead of Bandera smoothies - which is, you know, Ukraine's version of a Molotov cocktail - and going in with bad gear, thinking that he had the best and the latest. And so as much as we fell for this idea of Russia being much more powerful than they are, much more capable than they are, Putin fell for that himself. -- DAVID VOLODZKO
Ridley Road | Masterpiece Theater
`Ridley Road' is the story of the 62 Group, a collection of anti-fascists who stood up against the rising neo-Nazi movement in Britain after World War Two, based on Jo Bloom's book of the same name, released in 2014. In the summer of 1962, twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. Alone in the world, she is looking for Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense love affair with some months before. Her search leads her into the fight against resurgent fascism in East London, where members of the Jewish community are taking to the streets, in and around Ridley Road. -- Google Knowledge PanelNote:This is 1962 this movies is about; just 17 years after Nazi Germany almost successfully invaded England.