The I Ching on the 2020 Presidential Election – Part 2 Hexagram 56

The I Ching’s response to the question “What of the US Presidential Election?” was Hexagram 13 and its changing lines give us Hexagram 56. T’ung Jen / Fellowship with Men. Changing lines are not part of the reading of Hexagram 56 so, the main entry is only to be read. However, I always read the changing line entries looking for more wisdom on Hexagram 13 and how its issue is moving into the future. We see here the mention of “penalties, lawsuits, and prisons” which is now being discussed surrounding persons involved in this Presidential Election.

56. T’ung Jen / Fellowship with Men

 
above LI           The Clinging, Fire

below Ken       Keeping Still, Mountain

 

The mountain, Ken, stands still; above it fire, Li, flames up and does not tarry. Therefore the two trigrams do not stay together. Strange lands and separation are the wander’s lot.

THE JUDGMENT
The WANDERER. Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune
To the wanderer.

When a man is a wanderer and stranger, he should not be gruff nor overbearing. He has no large circle of acquaintances; therefore, he should not give himself airs. He must be cautious and reserved; in this way he protects himself from evil. If he is obliging toward others, he wins success.
A wanderer has no fixed abode; his home is the road. Therefore, he must take care to remain upright and steadfast, so that he sojourns only in the proper places, associating only with good people. Then he has good fortune and can go his way unmolested.

THE IMAGE
Fire on the Mountain:
The image of THE WANDERER
Thus the superior man
Is clear-minded and cautious
In imposing penalties,
And protracts no lawsuits.

When grass on a mountain takes fire, there is bright light. However, the fire does not linger in one place, but travels on to new fuel. It is a phenomenon of short duration. This is what penalties and lawsuits should be like. They should be a quickly passing matter, and must not be dragged out indefinitely. Prisons ought to be places where people are lodged only temporarily, as guests are. They must not become dwelling places.

THE LINES
Six at the beginning means:
If the wanderer busies himself with trivial things,
He draws down misfortune upon himself.

A wanderer should not demean himself or busy himself with inferior things he meets with along the way. The humbler and more defenseless his outward position, the more should he preserve his inner dignity. For a stranger is mistaken if he hopes to find a friendly reception through lending himself to jokes and buffoonery. The result will be only contempt and insulting treatment.

Six in the second place means:
The wanderer comes to an inn.
He has his property with him.
He wins the steadfastness of a young servant.

The wanderer here described is modest and reserved. He does not lose touch with his inner being, hence he finds a resting place. In the outside world he does not lose the liking of other people, hence all persons further him, so that he can acquire property. Moreover, he wins the allegiance of a faithful and trustworthy servant – a thing of inestimable value to a wonder.

Nine in the third place means:
The wanderer’s inn burns down.
He loses the steadfastness of his young servant.
Danger.

A truculent stranger does not know how to behave properly. He meddles in affairs and controversies that do not concern him; thus he loses his resting place. He treats his servant with aloofness and arrogance; this he loses the man’s loyalty. When a stranger in a strange land has no one left on whom he can relay, the situation becomes very dangerous.

Nine in the fourth place means:
The wanderer’s rests in a shelter.
He obtains his property and an ax.
My heart is not glad.

This describes a wanderer who knows how to limit his desires outwardly, though he is inwardly strong and aspiring. Therefore he finds at least a place of shelter in which he can stay. He also succeeds in acquiring property, but even with this, he is not secure. He must be always on guard, ready to defend himself with arms. Hence his is not at ease. He is persistently conscious of being a stranger in a strange land.

Six in the fifth place means:
He shoots a pheasant.
It drops with the first arrow.
In the end, this brings both praise and office.

Traveling statesmen were in the habit of introducing themselves to local princes with the gift of a pheasant. Here the wanderer wants to enter the service of a prince. To this end he shoots a pheasant, killing it at the first shot. Thus he finds friends who praise and recommend him, and in the end, the prince accepts him and confers an office upon him.
Circumstances often cause a man to seek a home in foreign parts. If he knows how to meet the situation and how to introduce himself in the right way, he may find a circle of friends and a sphere of activity even in a strange country.

Nine at the top means:
The bird’s nest burns up.
The wanderer laughs at first,
Then must needs lament and weep.
Through carelessness he loses his cow.
Misfortune.

The picture of a bird whose nest burns up indicates loss of one’s resting place. This misfortune may overtake the bird if it is heedless and imprudent when building its nest. It is the same with a wanderer. If he lets himself go, laughing and jesting, and forgets that he is a wanderer, he will later have cause to weep and lament. For if through carelessness a man loses his cow – i.e., his modesty and adaptability – evil will result.

 

 

 

 

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The I Ching on the 2020 Presidential Election – Part 1 Hexagram 13

11/2/2020 9:07 pm. I have been listening to the MSNBC news shows and decided to ask the I Ching in the morning this question:

What of the U.S. Presidential Election?     

In the night (12:30 am/11.03.20), I had a dream that I was with about 20 people crowded into a bus and required to arrange themselves to be able to survive together. I assumed a leadership role and slowly with everyone cooperating, we were able to work out where to sit and put our bags. I ended sitting in a key authority /power seat just behind the main door. I saw Fannie was in the long back seat, seems now sleeping. We were off to somewhere in space in time.

I was next up at 1:25 am preparing my book, The I Ching or Book of Changes Wilhelm/ Baynes, my Chinese coins, and notebook to record I’s answer. I then realized I wanted to wait until 2am so that at least the Mainland US was into 11.03.2020. I placed the coins on The Book of Changes, placed my hands over them, and lay my head down, imaging I was floating high enough to have a full view of the US. With a little shift in my view, I saw in the distances Alaska and Hawaii. I thought I was about over Kansas – no I did not see Dorothy or a Witch.

I received Hexagram 13 T’ung Jen / Fellowship with Men, with changing lines in the second line in the upper trigram and in the third line in the lower trigram. These changes produce Hexagram 56 Lu / The Wanderer. I read Hexagram 13 completely through and was concerned yet hopeful about the way November 3 would unfold. I went back to bed not reading read Hexagram 56. I rose at 5:30 am and read Hexagram 56. Here is the main entry for Hexagram 13. Although there were no changing lines involved in my result, I studied all changing lines and they give us more insight into what is unfolding today. I will add these later. 10:25 am 11.03.2020.

13. T’ung Jen / Fellowship with Men

 

above CH’IEN            The Creative, Heaven

below LI                      The Clinging, Flame

 

The image of the upper trigram Ch’ien is heaven, and that of the lower, Li is flame. It is the nature of fire to flame up to heaven. This gives the idea of fellowship. It is the second line that, by virtue of its central character, unites the five strong lines around it. This hexagram forms a complement to Shih, The Army (7). In the latter, danger is within and obedience is without – the character of a warlike army, which, in order to hold together, needs one strong man among the many who are weak. Here, clarity is within and strength without – the character of a peaceful union of men, which, in order to hold together, needs one yielding nature among many firm persons.

THE JUDGEMENT
Fellowship with men in the open.
Success.
It furthers one to cross the great waters.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.

True fellowship among men must be based on a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. That is why it is said that fellowship with men in the open succeeds. If unity of this kind prevails, even difficult and dangerous tasks, such a crossing the great water can be accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of fellowship, a persevering and enlightened leader is needed – a man of clear, convincing, and inspiring aims and the strength to carry them out. (The inner trigram means clarity and outer, strength.)

THE IMAGE
Heaven together with fire:
The image of FELLOWSHIP WITH MEN.
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.

Heaven has the same direction of movement as fire, yet it is different from fire. Just as the luminaries in the sky serve for the systematic division and arrangement of time, so human society and all things that really belong together must be organically arranged. Fellowship should not be a mere mingling of individuals – that would be chaos, not fellowship. If fellowship is to lead to order, there must be organization within diversity.

THE LINES
Nine at the beginning means:
Fellowship with men at the gate.
No blame.

The beginning of union among people should take place before the door. All are equally close to one another. No divergent aims have yet arisen, and one makes no mistakes. The basic principles of any kind of union must be equally accessible to all concerned. Secret agreements bring misfortune.

Six in the second place means:
Fellowship with men in the clan
Humiliation.

There is danger here of formation of a separate faction on the basis of personal and egotistic interests. Such factions, which are exclusive and, instead of welcoming all men, must condemn one group in order to unite the others, originate from low motives and therefore lead in the course of time o humiliation.

Nine at the third place means:
He hides weapons in the thicket,
He climbs the high hill in front of it.
For three years he does not rise up.

Here fellowship has changed about to mistrust. Each man distrusts the other, plans a secret ambush, and seeks to spy on his fellow from afar. We are dealing with an obstinate opponent whom we cannot come at by this method. Obstacles standing in the way of fellowship with others are shown here. One has mental reservations for one’s own part and seeks to take his opponent by surprise. This very fact makes one mistrustful, suspecting the same wiles in this opponent and trying to ferret them out. The result is that one departs further and further from true fellowship. The longer this goes on, the more alienated one becomes.

Nine in the fourth place means:
He climbs up on his wall; he cannot attack
Good fortune.

Here the reconciliation that follows quarrel moves nearer. It is true that there are still dividing walls on which we stand confronting one another. But the difficulties are too great. We get into straits, and this brings us to our senses. We cannot fight, and therein lies our good fortune.

Nine in the fifth place means:
Men bound in fellowship first weep and lament,
But afterward they laugh.
After great struggles, they succeed in meeting

Two people are outwardly separated, but in their hearts they are united. They are kept apart by their positions in life. Many difficulties and obstructions arise between them and cause them grief. But, remaining true to each other, they allow nothing to separate them, and although it costs them a severe struggle to overcome the obstacles, they will succeed. When they come together their sadness will change to joy. Confucius says of this: Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings. Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again. Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words. There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in their inmost hearts, They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze. And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.

Nine at the top means:
Fellowship with men at the meadow.
No remorse.

The warm attachment that springs from the heart is lacking here. We are by this time actually outside of fellowship with others. However, we ally ourselves with them. The fellowship does not include all, but only those who happen to dwell near one another. The meadow is the pasture at the entrance to the town. At this stage, the ultimate goal of the union of mankind has not yet been attained, but we need not reproach ourselves. We join the community without separate aims of our own.

 

 

 

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Dao de Ching Chapter 9

To hold things and to be proud of them is not as good as not to have them,
Because if one insists on an extreme, that extreme will not dwell long.
When a room is full of precious things, one will never be able to preserve them.
When one is wealthy, high ranking, and proud of himself, he invites misfortune.
When one’s task is completed and his mission is fulfilled, he removes himself from his position. This is indeed the way of Nature.

Commentary

The dialectical approach is basic to Lao Tzu’s thought. The dialectical world is a world of endless movement between conflicting forces. When one extreme is reached, the dialectical process immediately reverses itself and extends to the opposite extreme. According to the Taoist teaching, when one reaches one extreme and yet is free from it, one enters the realm of the unity of opposites, in which both extremes are immediately and spontaneously identified. As Nishida Kitaro says:

That which exists in the actual world must be both subjective and objective, both universal and individual. Be including both these contradictory moments within itself, the world becomes a dialectical process (Nishida, Fundamental problems, 108).

One enters the realm of the unity of opposites when one transforms one’s limited ego-form self into one’s unlimited non-ego-form self. In Nishida’s words:

The activity of the self means the subjectification of objectivity and the objectification of the self. But at the same time, it means that the object subjectifies itself and the universal individualizes itself. Therein the self is lost, but the true self is found (Ibid., 77).

When one achieves the true self, one is no longer limited to one extreme or another; one is free from all extremes. This is the way of nature.

Kitaro Nishida

Tao Te Ching

Dialogue [SAScherling]

I have read and listened to Erich Fromm for years and his book and in this interview To Have or To Be, he addresses the challenge the World is facing: we can continue consuming things, keeping up with our neighbors, or we can choose to understand who we are, how to be in our world, learning to be part of it – respecting and caring for what is ourselves. This is a BBC interview shortly after the publication of Erich’s book To Have or to Be in 1976. We can also read the following texts by Erich Fromm: 1) “Man Is Not a Thing”: http://www.theosophyonline.com/ler.ph… 2) “Psychology and Ethics Are Inseparable”: http://www.theosophyonline.com/ler.ph… 3) “Freud, Jung, And Ethics”: http://www.theosophyonline.com/ler.ph…


Resources:

Text:
Tao: a new way of thinking
, with a Commentary by Chang Chung-yuan.
Shepherd. Harvey L. (2013, October 27) A Review of “Dialectics and Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar” The Jung Page. http://www.cgjungpage.org/learn/articles/book-reviews/764-a-review-of-dialectics-and-analytical-psychology-the-el-capitan-canyon-seminarq

Dialectical Analytical Man Posts:
Ethics of Individuation & Individuation of Ethics Posted on April 29, 2013
A New Depth Ethic Posted on September 18, 2013

Dialogue:
Shr Ling-yuan, SAScherling.

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Dao Te Ching Chapter 8

I have been away from blogging on the Dao de Ching but not from studying its chapters. It is time for me to resume sharing my processes of reading, reflecting, thinking, and writing about life as it unfolds.  The idea stated earlier is to be online-in-time – and sensing time is essential! So, I will restate the idea of this blog is to read and comment on Lao Tzu’s book the Dao de Jing which will flow into related themes of study around the issues of the day.  It seems only appropriate that the West understand Lao Tzu’s importance through the only book attributed to him as China reclaims its status as the World’s largest and most influential economy, a position it will soon reclaim after only 200 years of recorded history not holding it. Our text is Tao: a new way of thinking, with a Commentary by Chang, Chung-yuan, and with this blog adding a Dialogue² by Shr Ling-yuan, SAScherling.

Chapter 8
That which is best is similar to water.*
Water profits ten thousand things and does not oppose them.
It is always at rest in humble places that people dislike.
Thus, it is close to Tao.
Therefore, for staying, we prefer a humble place.
For minds, we prefer profundity.
For companions, we prefer the kindness.
For words, we prefer sincerity.
For government, we prefer good order.
For affairs, we prefer ability.
For actions, we prefer the right time.
Because we do not strive,
We are free from fault.

Commentary
Lao Tzu’s teaching of engaging in daily activities in due degree seems quite close to the basic Confucian principle of propriety. However, there is a fundamental difference between the man of Tao and the Confucian man of propriety. The man of Tao is free form self, free from reputation, and free from claiming credit. It is not that he has no self; rather, his self is the self of no-self. It is not that he has no name; rather, his name is the name of no-name. It is not that he has no achievement; rather, his achievement is the achievement of no-achievement, for which he claims no credit. Thus, the man of Tao adjusts to his daily activities just as the flowers bloom when the spring comes, just as the moon shines upon the lake at night. His adjustment to daily affairs is free from individual ambitions and thoughts of fame.  The Confucian man of propriety, on the other hand, strives to be greater than the ordinary man. …

The teaching of this first section of this chapter is how to be a genuine man of Tao. One must be as humble as the water, staying in a place where nothing is labeled. Although Confucianism also teaches humility, it is humility which is merely a modification of one’s ambition or ego. Primarily, ambition and a strong ego persist in the center of one’s being.

This chapter is very important for dispelling the common belief that Taoism is nihilistic. It teaches men how to engage in ordinary daily activities in due degree. There is a difference between the ordinary man’s attitude toward work and the attitude of the man of Tao. The ordinary man competes with others and worries about achieving or falling behind. The Taoist attitude is that of the no-ego self which is like water. In Ch’an Buddism this attitude is called everyday-mindedness, which is expressed in the words: “when we are hungry, we eat; when tired, lie down.” Everyday-mindedness is also expressed in the words of the Western philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. As he says when a rose blooms under a window spontaneously. It does not bloom because it envies the beauty of other roses or because it wants to please the mistress of the house. Thus, this chapter follows the teaching of Chapter 7 on the achievment of the self through selflessness. Because of selflessness, whenever one acts, one’s actions are spontaneous, direct, and always right. Every response to one’s actions is naturally correct and is always there, without deliberation. Thus in this chapter we have:

For words, we prefer sincerity
For government, we prefer good order.
For affairs, we prefer ability.
For action, we prefer the right time.

In this case where is there need for argument? Then, naturally, there is no fault.

Dialogue²
Chang ends the chapter’s commentary telling us that this chapter follows on the teaching of Chapter 7, posted on February 12, 2015,  which is “on the achievement of self through selflessness”, whose actions are spontaneous, direct, always right, naturally correct, and always without deliberation.” Chang completes his commentary reminding us that “words prefer sincerity, government good order, affairs ability, and action right time.” So, to begin Dialogue² we need to review blog post  Dao de Jing Chapter 7  to describe how Chapter 8 relates to “the achievement of self through selflessness” whose actions are characterized as spontaneous, direct, right, correct, and without deliberation. This is obviously much to address in one Dialogue, in fact, our Dialogue² is the process of reading and reflecting on how all chapters and our experiencing-reflecting-thinking-writing processes are unfolding, as Chapter 7 informs us that “The idea of the self-determining present will be further discussed in the commentary to Chapter 28.”

I just now returned to re-read for the 100th time Chapter 7, who’s commentary begins “This chapter teaches that the self becomes a self only by negating itself and identifying with the non-self.” Re-reading the commentary based on Kitaro Nishida’s work and trying to put it into practice requires that “Time must be seen as the self-determining present, meaning that the present, which includes past, present, and future, is a self-determining present”. Now, this is a challenge to understand let alone to practice! However, let’s not let this go unchallenged.

I am 76 years old and recently noticed a difference in my experience of time. Often this difference is experienced when I am driving so, maybe a space-time issue needs to be unpacked. It might be I am on autopilot while driving and my present is temporarily off-line. My experience is that I am spending more time with past experiences of my life than in planning future ones or just experiencing the present drive. Intuitively this seems as it should be, there is more life behind me than in front of me. In trying to think about the future there seem to be no concrete objects to reach. Death does not seem all that inviting. Maybe that is the issue. Raised in Christianity there is pure white heaven or a red hot hell. What is not revealed is that hell is full of ‘rock’n roll’ music and dancing – humm, not so bad. My wife is Buddhist and so that is now my choice, I will be re-born and live through another life experience and give Mr Barney in his history class a run for the money. I will leave this here for us to work on before moving forward. Sleep on this and expect our dreams to help us understand.

Dream 8.3.2020:  I was at FCHS listening to an address being given by Bill Barney, which was very inspiring! Afterward, we met on the school’s stairs and I said “I am very inspired by what you said in class.” Bill responded, “I am glad it was helpful to you.” I then went to shake hands and give him a hug but I felt he was a little hesitant to fully embrace. We continued it seems I walking up and he down the stairs.
Association: Bill was an inspirational teacher for me. It was in his history class that I read the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and the History of the German General Staff – writing two book reports. I went out for wrestling to get in shape for hockey, which Mr Barney did not appreciate.
Amplification: At one of the Class ‘62 Reunions, I think the 40th, Bill came Friday night and there were 20+ classmates gathered around him talking, I stood right to his left side. He said then or at some other time that the Class of 1962 had been a special class for him. I have written before and discussed this with others, not sure what he might have meant by ‘special’. I have suggested that one way to test this is by the accomplishments achieved by each class. It would be a difficult measurement to construct with success in all the ways that class members have lived their lives. I wonder if this measurement has already been constructed? However, the point is not to see which class is more ‘special’ but to assemble the stories of classmates’ lives and discover the common threads in their stories – now here is a project to dream about.

References:
Chang, Chung-yuan (1975). Tao: a new way of thinking. New York: Harper & Row; Translation and Commentary.

Dunne, J.W. (1934). An experiment with Time. London: Macmillian Publishers

Giegerich, Wofgang. (2005). The neurosis of psychology, Vol. 1. Chapter Two: On the neurosis of psychology the third of two, pp 41-67. New Orleans: Spring.

Mahoney, Maris F. (1966). The meaning in dreams and dreaming – The Jungian viewpoint. New Jersy: The Citadel Press.

Nishida Kitaro. (1932). Fundamental Problems of Philosophy (World of Act) and (1933) Fundamental Problems of Philosophy Continued (World as Dialectic).

Siegel, Bruce. (1917). Dreaming the future: How our dreams prove psychic ability is real, and why it matters.  Amazon Books on Kindle.

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How to Fail at Almost Everything

I recently had an experience with someone suggesting my life has been a failure. This automatically triggered reflective thinking accessing Abraham Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. I paused inside Abraham’s theory, examining my life to see if it could be characterized as a failure.  I graduated with B+ average and captain of the High School hockey team, however, my first marriage failed on the way to BS, MBA, and DBA degrees in psychology and management. I failed to receive tenure at UND but had already decided to accept a teaching position at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of International Business. After four years teaching and several successful research projects and award-winning publications, I took a leave to teach at National Taiwan University giving up another opportunity for tenure to stay at NTU where I met Fannie Tai, whom I married having children Aaron and Annah, now graduates of NDSU pursuing their careers. My teaching career moved through UIBE in Beijing, NDSU in Fargo, back to CUHK, then to the University of Mary Fargo, and Concordia Moorehead. At every school research projects were conducted resulting in publications. We own two modest houses, one VW wagon, two bikes, one push-lawn mower, and have one small dog. How is this failure?

It is a failure when failure is seen as not having kept up with the neighbors, with their new Lexus SUV and Buick sedan in the garage. One issue to consider is how “keeping up with the Jones” affects one’s daily thoughts? What does envy do to us? But more to the point, I am still healthy, reading, reflecting, thinking, and writing – it is these activities that impact one’s quest and achievement of self-actualization? No amount of money, material possessions can help one achieve this highest Maslow need. I am not Breaking Bad – Really Bad yet!

The Hoover Institution recorded on July 12, 2017, How to Fail at Almost Everything with Scott Adams the Dilbert comic strip author/artist – political philosopher.  Adams sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. He discusses his theory of “talent stacking,” the idea that rather than being an expert in one particular skill (Tiger Woods at golf), one can become successful by stacking a variety of complementary non-expert skills. Adams demonstrates how talent stacking has been beneficial in his life because he has stacked comic artist skills with his MBA and experience in corporate environments to create successful comic strip that resulted in spin-off books, a television series, a video game, and merchandise. His business skills gave him the tools to create a business satire comic strip and the skill set to manage the business that evolved from the Dilbert strip.

Adams also discusses how he uses his Dilbert Blog to discuss his political philosophies and observations about Trump and his administration. He wrote blog posts about the 2016 election and predicted that Donald Trump would win based on Trump’s talent stack as a media mogul and businessman who had spent significant time in the public eye and so was immune to scandals and thick-skinned enough to handle what the media and other politicians would throw at him. Adams argues that Trump is one of the best branders, influencers, and persuaders he has ever seen, in that he uses persuasive techniques in debates and on social media as a way to get people to do what he wants. Adams contends that Trump’s persuasive techniques will help solve the problem of North Korea because he has already set up China to get involved by intimating that it tried and failed. Adams suggests this will cause China to get involved in order to save face, an important Chinese need.

Adams explains his idea of the story arc of life, which has one starting life intentionally selfish so that by the end of life one will have given away all of his wealth, knowledge, and wisdom, a process he says he has already begun at mid-life. This strategy starts easy and becomes increasingly more difficult. Wealth can be left in the bank, but giving away knowledge requires one to write, and giving away wisdom requires one to write well and be widely read.  Adams also discuss his new book, Win Bigly, about the persuasive strategies of Donald Trump, which we need to understand as November approaches. Adams thinks Trump has the potential to leave a very significant impact on American political life but he does not outline it. I also sense this. This impact ought to be understood because it appears that our democracy is in trouble no matter which political party wins. We cannot fail in our project to understand both Trump and Bidden by November! Ready for some Dilbert advice on why this project may fail?

By SAScherling

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General James Mattis Defending The United States

James Mattis Denounces President Trump Describes Him as a threat to the Constitution was written by Jeffrey Goldberg, appeared in The Atlantic on June 3, 2020, and is the former defense secretary backing protesters and says that The President is trying to turn Americans against one another”. After getting my cup of coffee this morning I saw in my YouTube feed some items on James Mattis and having read and heard his comments about Trump I decided to look closer at who this General is – expecting he is going to be in the news going forward. Here are some interesting interviews of General James Mattis conducted by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institute followed by a CNN’s Anderson Cooper Program.

Defending the Nation With Secretary of Defense James Mattis • May 14, 2018

Recorded on Friday, May 11, 2018 in Washington DC. In his first televised interview in almost a year, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss a wide range of issues facing the United States Armed Forces at home and across the globe. Earlier this year, Secretary Mattis published the National Defense Strategy, the first such document in a decade. Secretary Mattis describes why the document is an important blueprint for the Armed Forces and what he hopes to accomplish by publishing it. After a moving story about a captured Iraqi suicide bomber, Secretary Mattis describes the complicated nature of our relationship with China and the possible flashpoints in the South China Sea. A discussion follows about Europe and how political controversies with Russia affect our military relationship and why Secretary Mattis believes NATO is not a threat to them. Moving on to the Middle East, Secretary Mattis defines our mission in Syria, comments on the use of chemical weapons, and explains why that theater is the most complex security conundrum he’s seen in his forty-year career. He says that the refugees coming out of Syria are more traumatized than refugees he’s seen anywhere else in the world. He discusses the need to work with the international community on the refugee crisis as, “It is a tragedy much worse than anything BBC or CNN can show.” In the Far East, Mattis describes how a coordinated effort across different departments of the US federal government and allied countries have achieved a dialogue that may lead to the denuclearization of North Korea. Secretary Mattis also makes the case that the Iranian regime and the Iranian people are different constituencies with different priorities and agendas. He relates how he is reforming the Pentagon’s provisioning and spending policies and why it’s important for the military (the seventeenth-largest economy in the world) to be a responsible steward of the nation’s tax dollars.

Jim Mattis on Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead • Premiered Sep 3, 2019

Recorded on August 21, 2019 Peter Robinson opens the show by asking General Jim Mattis, former secretary of defense, to explain the word “chaos” from the title of his new book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. (“Chaos” is an abbreviation for “Colonel Has Another Outstanding Suggestion.”) Mattis notes that chaos has been a part and parcel of his life growing up, in the marines, and traveling the world. Mattis further talks about how chaos has been introduced by organizations to disrupt order and keep opponents at the top of their game. But on the battlefield, it is better to introduce chaos early, in order to disrupt enemies’ plans and thus create problems for them and, ultimately, dominate them. Robinson asks about what led Mattis to join the marines and why he decided to serve so long. Mattis explains his love for the country and the great people he met in the service. The fellow soldiers kept him going and inspired him to jot down lessons he had learned that could help future generations learn to serve and lead in better ways. Mattis notes that it is the very high quality of the people whom he met in the armed services that kept him in the military for his career. Mattis talks about how soldiers are brave, rambunctious, and selfless, and how he would rather have crummy jobs at times and work with great people than have a great job and not work with the outstanding people Mattis encountered in the military.

Anderson Cooper: Mattis gave a stunning rebuke of Trump • Jun 3, 2020

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Deeper Than A Few Bad Apples

I just checked the news to see what had “bumped in the night” regarding the George Floyd protests nationwide and watched several news clips using the words “A Few Bad Apples in the Police” to explain what has happened these last days and nights. The ‘bad apple theory’ has been around for years and in this report which premiered Sep 5, 2019 is Calling BS on the ‘Bad Apples’ Theory of Police Misconduct – it is more than a few bad apples, it is a systemic issue in American culture. What is the deep systemic issue?

I first heard about the “bad apple idea” in showing my management classes this report on The Corporation (2003), where many of our major corporations are identified as ‘bad apples’. Stop and think, who are the major players in creating and distributing wealth in America – you got it, it is the Corporation where we need to begin examining the systemic issues of what is now happening in America. These are the guys and gals that should be strung-up, stripped of their furs, jewels, and BMWs.

Frontline’s Policing the Police (full film) reposted on May 30, 2020 proposes “How to change a troubled police force? It presents a look inside a police department being forced to reform, in Frontline’s 2016 documentary. “Policing the Police” offers an up-close look at police reform efforts in Newark, NJ, after the force was found to have engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests of black residents.  This 2016 film examines the difficulties of fixing a broken relationship between the police and the community, which is quite obvious by last week’s behaviors has not been accomplished.

All of this past week’s turmoil has me remembering earlier posts on the work of Jeremy Rifkin’s investigation into the evolution of empathy in shaping the development of our society (What does it mean to be a Revolutionary? posted on It seems that our American Police Corporation has not made an attempt to hire political, social, ethical adviser Rifkin to investigate the deep evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our societal development. In the days at UND CUHK, NTU, UIBE, NDSU, Concordia, and UMary The Empathic Civilisation  was at the center of our teaching pedagogy. However, it seems that we are now Breaking Bad – Really Bad. sascherling

 

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The Mathematical Challenge to Darwin and Wallace

Time Magazine since February’s outbreak of Covid-19 has often had images of President Trump wearing a medical mask. The latest issue May 25 has a faceless, yellow hair, yelling mouth, with a mask of the Flag pulled down around his chin – the lead story is There’s a right way to reopen America. This isn’t it. The View essay – “We’ve been here before” by Jeffrey Kluger caught my attention with a photo of a boy that could have been me in 1954 getting his Salk polio serum. I still remember that summer living with family in Fargo at 1533 10th Street South and mom requiring us to take a long afternoon nap as part of the efforts to address polio. A point Kluger makes is that our current coronavirus epidemic is better compared to the 1916 polio epidemic than to the 1918 flu epidemic. His reason is that the effort to produce a vaccine for the 1916 polio epidemic took 38 years, and giving a premature polio vaccination to hundreds of children in 1938 gave hundreds of children polio.

Another essay in this Time issue is “How is Covid-19 affecting our mental health” by Markham Heid. The details of how this pandemic is affecting us psychologically waits for another post. What is of interest now is how our grandparents faced the 1916 epidemic compared to how we are facing 2020 epidemic. Our grandparents had no radio, TV, Internet, Google, Netflix, they were really ‘home alone’! As a writer, I have been ‘home alone’ for some time so, C-19 has not seemed to have affected my staying at-home routine. However, what is now unfolding I am coming to realize is influencing me by the “world climate” created by the coronavirus. I am not going out today so let me try to illustrate this by what I am doing at home alone.

I suspect that many have a distant and vague memory of learning about Darwin and Wallace’s independent and that I suggest are synchronistic discoveries of the Laws of Natural Selection.  I  just took a fascinating journey with Darwin on the Beagle in the BBC 7 part movie The Voyage of Charles Darwin. Wow, what a thrill watching this last week –  I was not in my den at home but on the Beagle shorting through specimens with Charles. I often sat on my porch to feel the breeze imaging I was on the Beagle’s upper deck with Captin Robert FitzRoy. Part 7 of The Voyage of Charles Darwin is the return to England and his struggle to commit himself to write and publish his findings. Darwin was finally moved to publish by  The Forgotten Voyage: Alfred Russel Wallace and his discovery of evolution by natural selection.

The Forgotten Voyage: Alfred Russel Wallace and his discovery of evolution by natural selection.

The Making of a Theory: Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection bring together these thinkers in the making of the Theory of Natural Selection. I suggest we might consider this a synchronistic experience. Darwin and Wallace became close friends.

I recently watched an interview on the mathematical challenges to Charles Darwin’s  The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life which is very thought-provoking. At the end of the Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the interviewer Peter Robinson asks his guest scientists David BerlinskiDavid Gelernter, and Stephen Meyer about the contributions of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. The Davids disparage Marx and applaud Freud – but Meyer sees deep into the question by saying all three thinkers made important contributions to the issue of consciousness under discussion. Meyer explains, “It is good to group their ideas together. Darwinism has become the foundation of our ‘world view’ and we need to look at the questions these three addressed: Darwin tells us where we came from, Marx offers a utopian vision of the future, and Freud tells us what to do about our guilt. Between the three of these great materialistic thinkers of the 19th – 20th Century they form the basis of a comprehensive world view. They answer all the questions that Judeo-Christian thought addresses.” What intrigues me is the comments that “the complexity of the cell, the building block of life, is increasing as the Universe expands.” What are the implications of this fact?  Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was recorded on June 6, 2019 in Italy (Uncommon Knowledge).

Uncommon Knowledge with David Berlinski on “The Deniable Darwin” Jul 8, 2019 addresses the issue, “Is Charles Darwin’s theory fundamentally deficient? David Berlinski makes his case, noting that most species enter the evolutionary order fully formed and then depart unchanged. Where there should be evolution, there is stasis. So, was Darwin wrong? David Berlinski is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, a contributing editor at Inference: International Review of Science, and author of many books. Berlinski discusses his book The Deniable Darwin and lays out how Charles Darwin has failed to explain the origin of species through his theory of evolution. Berlinski explains that change in biology is not continuous—it’s radical, something which Darwinian theory fails to explain. He discusses how Darwinian evolution is blind to the future as there is no fidelity to the facts. He gives examples of amino acids and dogs and explains why there cannot be just one species. He further strengthens his statement by saying that everything cannot be accounted for as being random: there should be some scientific evidence to support it. Berlinski responds to Peter Robinson’s question about Razib Khan’s statement to the effect that, “The seeds of both tyranny and democracy were sown by the evolutionary pressures that shaped humans over millions of years.” He argues that the deepest aspects of our nature are not formed by evolutionary pressures because evolution is relatively neutral. He also replies to Robinson’s question about a remark of Pope Benedict XVI to the effect that Western thought, by its very nature, “excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question.” He explains that it is not right to argue that physical theories imply that the conclusion is antitheist, as mere exclusion in these theories does not imply that. Robinson further asks Berlinski’s views about the growing population of Islam and decreasing population of Europeans in Europe. Berlinski explains that Muslims take religion seriously, but theology/religion has more or less disappeared from the Western habit of thought. He states that faith and religion should come together. Berlinski further talks about how Albert Einstein’s comments disprove God, not because he is an antitheist, but because Einstein wanted to push quantum theory and his belief in the rational universe” (Uncommon Knowledge).

Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Doubt delivered on Mar 18, 2019. According to a nationwide survey, more than two-thirds of atheists and one-third of agnostics believe that “the findings of science make the existence of God less probable,” while nearly half of self-identified theists believe “the findings of science are neutral with regard to the existence of God.” But what if there is another option? What if the discoveries of science actually lend support to belief in God? Taped at the 2019 Dallas Science and Faith Conference at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas sponsored by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (YouTube).

Does Science Point To God? – Stephen Meyer delivered on April 8, 2020. Philosopher of science, intelligent design scholar, teacher, and New York Times bestselling author of Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer presents groundbreaking scientific evidence of the existence of God, based on breakthroughs in physics, cosmology, and biology (YouTube).

David Gelernter: “The Tides of Mind” | Talks at Google • May 2, 2016 . Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale. In the 1980s, he made seminal contributions to the field of parallel computation, specifically the tuple space coordination model, as embodied by the Linda programming system. Gelernter visited Google’s office in Cambridge, MA to discuss his book “The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness”. The book is an exploration of the human psyche that shows how the purpose of the mind changes throughout the day. Gelernter explains that, when we are at our most alert, when reasoning and creating new memories is our main mental business, the mind is a computer-like machine that keeps emotion on a short leash and attention on our surroundings. As we gradually tire, however, and descend the “mental spectrum,” reasoning comes unglued. Memory ranges more freely, the mind wanders, and daydreams grow more insistent. Self-awareness fades, reflection blinks out, and at last we are completely immersed in our own minds (YouTube).

My yard needs tending, I’ll be back…

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Thomas Sowell Secretary of Treasury

Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robertson a Production of The Hoover Institute’s sessions with Thomas Sowell are thought-provoking!  Sowell’s well-thought argument should have been adopted by the Republican Party but for some reason, they were not up to carrying the torch of Adam Smith, William Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Georgy Will. Donald Trump and his Cabinet simply do not have the brain-muscles to carry this torch. I am now suspicious Joe Bidden and Democrats have the ability to understand the US’s decline that Dr. Sowell argues Demoractes in great part are responsible for. Many of Sowell’s UK interviews can be viewed below and this first one on the second edition of Sowell’s book Intellectuals and Society stricks at my career in academics. I have started to assemble an ideal Presidental Cabinet, and Thomas Sowell is assigned to the job of Secretary of Treasury. He might decline given the argument he presents. However, maybe not, since Sowell had to work his way through his education. SAScherling

Thomas Sowell on Uncommon Knowledge

 

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Escape From Evil

I read this essay British Writer Pens The Best Description Of Trump I’ve Read
by Britisher Nate White a few days ago and woke this morning thinking this is a good description of evil. This description springs to White’s mind: “Trump lacks certain qualities… For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief. …And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever… to lack humour is almost inhuman. Trump, doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty. …Trump is a troll and like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness. …Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug, A Jabba the Hutt of privilege. 

These are some very disturbing images for a Sunday morning, however, there are forces’ I am now ‘working’ to understand. I am reading Robert Moore’s book ‘Facing the Dragon: Confronting personal and spiritual grandiosity’ and this morning I read Moore describing that there is a “mighty struggle going on in your psyche between the shadow and your ego-personality, and how you must get them to stop warring and start communicating as partners and brothers. The struggle is like the twinship images of Cain and Able, Jacob and Esau, which reflect the inner alienation and need for reconciliation” (35). I then decided to look at the references Moore was using and saw Ernest Backer’s book Escape from Evil 1985 listed. It is a sunny day and I need to tiptoe through some tulips growing in the back yard and then will listen to ‘escape from evil’. I’ll be back for dialogue.

Escape from Evil – Introduction – Ernest Becker

 Escape from Evil – Ritual as Practical Technics Chapter 1 – Ernest Becker

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