Billiette Calling! 4.22.2021

   I heard Billiette Calling, last night, July 6, 2017. She was asking where were we on the calling project? It was a hot night, I could not sleep, got up, came into my office to retrieve three of mom’s Billiette Calling columns she had written for Fargo’s Alcohol Anonymous Silver Dollar newsletter*. I read them slowly, imagining her typing them, and then realized she was with us in a dialogue on how we would move into this project. I also realized that if we were to undertake this project, mom expected me to be sober – I agreed but knew this would be a challenge. Understanding the loss of psychic energy when consuming alcohol is the focus of mom’s calling and I realized I needed to tap into her source of energy in order to complete this project. Billie often recited the AA Motto, which together let us recite:

God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to wisdom to know the difference
.

   Billiette, Mom, was born, raised, lived, married, died, and is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo ND. She was an acrobatic dancer graduating from Fargo Central High School in 1939. She married her high school sweetheart Orlando Scherling in 1942 and together they continued running the Scherling Photography Studio after Orlando’s parents retired in 1947. Billiette and Orlando raised five sons and were a prominent family in the Fargo community. Like many, in the 1950’s and 60’s, they had built an attractive bar in their basement. I can see them both now with their many friends gathered about the bar drinking and many smoking, which Billiette did.  However, it seems I never saw them stumbling about ‘drunk’. Now that I think more about this, it seems I can remember mom slightly ‘starry-eyed’ ‘out-of-focus’ on a few occasions.

   I am the oldest son and was in my senior year at university when I remember confronting mom and dad about their frequent loud arguments. There was another woman involved now and their life spiraled out of control. Within two years they had separated and were divorced – mom’s alcohol dependence became dangerous, smashing our car through a cement garage wall! Mom was in severe pain and there was nothing, it seemed, we could do.

   I am not sure how she found her way to Fargo’s AA Chapter, but there must have been a light form heaven as she soon entered Heartview Treatment Center, completing their treatment program, and remaining sober the rest of her life. As I started writing this, I watched the CBS Sunday Morning interview with Louise Penny, the murder mystery novelist. I was struck by her story that she was an alcoholic until she attended her first AA meeting and from that day on has not had a drink – this was Billiette’s experience. What also struck me was that Penny languished for years searching for a topic and a method to guide her dream to become a writer – one day it dawned on her, write murder mystery novels, her first novel was “Still Life”. So, I am now thinking Billiette Calling! is a mystery story? What is this mystery? What are you thinking it is? Intertrain this for just a moment… now write it down.

   Billiette, continued caring for her two youngest children now in high school and then surprised us all at 45 years of age enrolling and completing her BA Degree in Counseling at North Dakota State University. Mom then enrolled and completed The Valley Hope Treatment Center councilor training program, and then was hired there as a full-time counselor. She retired from Valley Hope and moved back to Fargo, becoming again involved with Fargo’s AA Chapter. Mom answered her final ‘calling …’ in 2003 moving on, now working with An AA Chapter in The Sky.

   This book has been a long time coming! Several years ago, I accumulated some of Billie’s Silver Dollar columns and started to color the image of her appearing in the upper left corner of each column. The broad-beamed hat remined me of the red-hat-photo taken of her by Orlando, her high-school sweetheart and husband of their five sons. Billie started witting her column in January 1970 and ended in December 2000. She wrote a total of 250 columns. Last month, as I was being called to begin this project in earnest, I rose in the middle of the night, retrieved the top 6 letters from my stack, and began reading the January to June 1974 issues. I read March 1974 first and so we begin here … “Hello, this is Billiette Calling!” Thank you Fargo Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter.

Billiette Calling! Having Had A Spiritual Awakening

“HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGT” – just what does this phrase mean? Webster says – spiritual is relating to, or consisting of spirit and to have spirit is the activating or essential principle influencing the individual – a lively brisk quality in a person, a mental disposition characterized by firmness, assertiveness and courage.

It seems to me, in AA, spiritual means to admit, to accept and to act. These are the 3 A’s of AA.

First of all, we alcoholics have to admit that we are powerless before our own obsession of alcoholism can leave us. And to “admit” the fact that the “spirits” that had been influencing our lives was driving us insane.

Secondly, we have to “accept” the fact that we are alcoholic and that our will power was not working – it has fizzled out.  We needed a power outside of ourselves to help us to be assertive, to be firm, and to have the courage to smash the spirit of alcoholism.

We have to accept the fact that we are not the gods we thought we were. What we needed was a “Power” greater than ourselves and that power we found was in AA groups. At first it was the people in our group, then we found that there was a “Higher Power” that governed that group – a God, as we each understood Him!

Thirdly, we go into action, for if we only admit and accept, we are alcoholics, we will only stay where we are – which is living a minute away from a drunk. We have to move on in order to grow; to be a self-actualizing person, a fully functioning person, mentally, physically and spiritually. To have the courage to be ourselves; to have respect for ourselves; and to be honest about our feelings and dealings. In going into action, we have to continually practice the 12 Steps of AA. We are not saints and I for one, do not want to become one. I just want to be me, and to become acquainted with that “inner spark” that God created within me. For the alcoholic, having had a spiritual awakening means we believe we have faith that a Higher Power (which I choose to call God – the creative power of the universe) is working through other people in AA. A spiritual awakening” to the alcoholic means he or she will seek the truth – and “The Truth Shall Set Us Free”.

Nobody can “cure” an alcoholic, but the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous can “save” us from a fate worse than death.

To realize that we don’t have to live in the dark sides of our minds, that there is a LIGHT shining to show us the way out of our private “hells” is “having a spiritual awakening”.
Billiette S

Receiving Billiette’s Call! Having Had A Spiritual Awakening

   March 3, 2021: I did not sleep well in the night, as I was going over and over what was happening in March 1974 when Mom wrote this Billiette Calling column. I had to go back in time and retrace our life-lines and Mom was about to graduate with her BA degree in Counseling from NDSU and I was moving from teaching management behavior/theory at The University of North Dakota to teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I remember our discussions about this point in the column she was preparing where she writes: “Thirdly, we go into action, for if we only admit and accept, we are alcoholics, we will only stay where we are – which is living a minute away from a drunk. We have to move on in order to grow; to be a self-actualizing person, a fully functioning person, mentally, physically and spiritually.”

   Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need Theory of which ‘self-actualization’ is the highest need was often a topic in our conversations. The issue for us still is how do “we go into action”, how do we “grow; to be self-actualizing, fully functioning, mentally, physically and spiritually.” Just how does one do this? How do we stated living at the top of the needs pyramid? We begin by realizing we have to climb up this pyramid and this is a really rough slippery climb!  

However, Maslow’s Need Theory operating principle is really quite simple. A lower-level need has to be ‘relatively satisfied’ before the next level activates to be a motivator of our behavior. Makes sense, we are primarily concerned with physiological needs like food and water before our personal Safety needs like personal and work needs become important to us. Once these are again ‘relatively satisfied’ the need for Love and Belonging becomes important. Our belonging need is critical, most challenging, as it requires a deep understanding of Others. Unless our belonging need is secure, the needs for Esteem and Self-actualization are basically inaccessible. So, here is the central role Alcoholics Anonymous plays, providing a safe loving space to recover one’s esteem in order to build a ‘creative imaginative response to life’. This is Billiette’s and all AA members’ calling! This is the sharing of Having Had A Spiritual Awakening! Now, in our personal journals write freely about what is being felt and thought. Steven S

Billiette Calling! Why Was I born?

WHY WAS I BORN? Seven years ago, on an April day, I asked that question of God. I could not live with myself, nor was I fit for myself to know. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I asked mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of then all?”  And there before me stood the witch that alcohol had created. I hated myself for the things I’d done to my family and to myself. I couldn’t hide myself from me any longer. I could see that others could never see, and I hated what “me” had become.

Several years ago, I began my search for “Why was I born?” Today, I know that “I was born to love”. First, I fell in love with God – and He returned His love by giving me the greatest gift I have ever received – THE AA WAY OF LIFE!

My search for me was found when I began to know my brother and sister alcoholic. They shared themselves with me – their fears, their anger – their hurts – their very inner selves – their gut level feelings were mine, and mine were theirs and theirs were mine.  What a wonderful awakening to know I could find myself through others who were lost like me.

What has seven years of sobriety brought me? I have tried to make up for the hurt I caused my family and the rewards have been great. They love and respect me when I once gave my drinking problem to God and regularly attend AA. Events in my life started to change. Many recall that four years ago I started going to col1ege. On May 24th’ I’ll be graduating – something that I consider a miracle for this 52-year-old “has-been drunk”.

July 1st I go to Valley Hope Treatment Center in Norton, Kansas for my training to become an alcoholic counselor.

My seven years of sobriety have not been a ‘bed of roses”. However, this I know, I have had a peace and contentment within, even though the storms I had had to face. I know that my serenity is the result of faithfully trusting and accepting God’s plan for me even though I could not understand “why at the time”. I do know now that through each trial and tribulation I have suffered, I have grown and become stronger.

I look to the future with confidence and I know I can’t lose as long as I have God and AA. In seven years, I have learned there is strength in faith. There is power in humility and there is happiness in helping others.

I am still learning to overcome myself, for it is not the difficulties of life that I have to conquer, but my own selfishness. Keeping sober is the most important thing in my life for without it, all I have gained in the last seven years would be lost. I am totally convinced that my whole life depends on my not taking that first drink. Nothing in this world is more important to me than my own sobriety. Everything I have or will have, or ever hope to have depends on my sobriety. Can I afford or can you afford to ever forget this?

Thankful I was born? You bet I am! I consider it an experience that I wouldn’t have missed for all the world! Billiette S

Receiving Billiette’s Call! Why was i born?

   So, for me this is on one level an easy question – I was born because my mother and farther decided to get it on with having me – I had no say in this transaction. The Normandy Landing was exactly 3 months away from when I came into our war-torn World. And it is when I am depressed, more likely it is that I am anxious about something, that the question “why was I born?” surfaces. I also think that this is a question often for the second half of one’s life, say after 40. In the first 40 years we are too busy just living life. It is often in the second half that we realize we have reached the noontime of life and are headed into the evening of life and death. The issue for me, now 76 years young, is have I left behind a handprint like early cavemen did telling us that they lived. This is what I am doing here, telling you stories of my life’s experiences in hopes that someday they will be read.

   I now remember an experience in 7th grade when girls were on my mind and I was wondering how they saw me as compared to my good-looking best friend Jim E and so we ask a trust girl friend to ask the other girls in our class. I think Jim won out. Years later teaching at UND I would use the The Johari Window technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. The technique was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, and is used primarily in sensitivity-training groups and corporate settings as a exercise to assist group members to function better together.

   The Johari Window has four areas as seen in the diagram below: Arena where you and others know about you; Façade area are items know by you but not by others; Blind Spots facts not know by you or by others about you; and Unknown areas not know by yourself or others. The object of the exercise is to expand the Arena quadrant by exchanging information about yourself with others in your group. The Johari Window process, in my experience, is how AA Chapter meeting operate. During the operation of the Johari Window process, it is suggested take one takes notes on what is revealed in each quadrant, and then write about what you have learned about yourself. Graphing the sharing of Self within a relationship offers a simple and quick explanation of this cube. There are many other YouTube clips available to enhance one’s experience of sharing views of each other. Steven S Johari Window: A Useful Tool for Understanding Self – YouTube. Steven S

Johari Window

Billiette Calling! Let Go Let God!

Let Go Let God – is an AA motto that may sound simple, but many of us find it very difficult to do. Many have asked me how I Let Go and Let God. Maybe what works for me will work for you.

When I am afflicted with worry or anxiety or have feeling of frustration or despair, here are the seven steps I try to take to gain serenity:

  1. Relaxation. I tell my “Big I” to get out of the driver’s seat and hand over the controls by returning to nature – such as lying on the ground and feeling its energy, sitting by the river, or a lake, or in the silence of my home. I relax and make contact with God by taking deep breaths, breathing God’s air deeper and deeper. Then let go, by completely relaxing every muscle in my body from head to toe. RELAX AND BE STILL!
  • Turn your will, your thoughts, your life to the Higher Power. Remind yourself that the over-whelming Power of God is surrounding you. It envelops you like your mother’s womb. You are one with God – – growing spiritually with God’s energy flowing through like sap flowing through the trees.
  • Consciously contact that Higher Power. Tune into it. Ask for the spirit of God to be present NOW.
  • Keep relaxed. Be still. Soon you will feel the flow of this Power surging through your body, mind and soul. When it happens to me, I feel a cleansing, a renewing and creative energy flowing through my whole being.
  • Surrender yourself, your needs, your problem, your anxieties, your fears – – dump them into God’s box. Somehow (don’t ask me, because I don’t understand) he takes them – and things begin to happen to resolve them.
  • Think of the people who worry you or those you have resentments for. Bring them into the present with your Higher Power. Let go, Let God handle these people. Give your hatred to God and He will turn it into Love. It took me a long time to turn one of my resentment over to God, but when I finally let go, I found an attitude of love for this person. Having a conscious contact with God for fifteen minutes each day, this way will release you there will be a spiritual growth filling you with gratitude and humility. Billiette S.

Receiving Billiette’s Call! Let Go Let God!

The AA motto to ‘Let Go Let God’ is challenging! Billiette suggests seven steps that she took to accomplish letting go in order for her understanding of God to begin helping her. We will eventually address all of these steps but for now our focus is on Step 7, which is to “Be expectant, wait trustingly for the Higher Power results in His guidance. It’s there – but we have to learn to be silent, to listen and to relax in his presence, and to be thankful that God has freed us alcoholics form bondage of alcoholism to live One Life and that Life is God’s Life and that Life is ours if we Let Go and Let God.” The emphasis here Billiette suggests is that we have to learn to be silent, and to listen. So, the challenge is learning to listen! This is a real challenge since most of us like to hear themselves talk!

Learning to listen is where we begin to Let Go Let God! To do this we will develop Theodor Reik’s idea of ‘Listening with the Third Ear’ to more clearly understand what is being suggested. Reik’s extensive book is a tough read and so we look at Kyle Arnold’s condensed paper Reiks_Theory_of_Psychoanalytic_Listening (2).pdf, to help AA members sharpen their listening skills. Arnold’s short paper, can be downloaded as a pdf file which I will reference to briefly frame the key points of deep listening that AA members ought to consider developing.

Arnold’s paper systematizes Reik’s theory of listening by laying a foundation for assessing Reik’s contributions to psycho-analysis. Reik’s theory is organized around an emphasis on your natural sequence that begins with unconscious conjectures about another AA members situation and ends with conscious specific formulations about what is motivating this AA member’s drinking behavior. Arnold writes that “Psycho-analytical conjectures crystallize out of the intersubjective, reciprocal illumination of the therapist’s and patient’s, unconscious minds” (44?). In our AA meetings, our understandings are beginning to emerge out of our and the members unconscious minds. This is the process we wish to become more conscious off and therefore more in control of. Understanding others and ourselves is a reciprocal process – the norm of reciprocity – what you do for me, I will return to you.

At our next AA meeting, begin to apply the first sequence item of ‘listening with the third ear” – begin carefully tending to your own “unconscious conjectures about the other AA members.” As each AA member shares his story, begin to listen carefully to what is and how it is being shared. It will help if you can take notes on what you are hearing from others and also what you are hearing, slowly at first from inside yourself – this is a first step. This is not meant to be a secretive process, you are undertaking so, if you are asked what you are doing, as is the AA way, share what you are doing and hope to accomplish. We will be addressing the other let go let god points and the other listening points. Now work some in your journal – what are you feeling now? Just let yourself go and write what comes to you – do not stop to correct spelling or improve your grammar. Steven S   

To be continued…

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The Return of the God Hypothesis

Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and the Return of the God Hypothesis

Published on Apr 6, 2021 Recorded on March 30, 2021 Dr. Stephen Meyer directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He returns to Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to discuss his newest book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this wide-ranging and often mind-bending interview, Dr. Meyer explains the God Hypothesis; makes his continuing and evolving case for intelligent design; describes how Judeo-Christian theology gave rise to science; discusses why the discovery of DNA is actually an enigma, as its existence cannot be explained by natural selection; and more.

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Human Nature

Human Nature Nova Documentary

Human Nature Netflix Movie

The Human Nature Documentary gives one a clear understanding of how ‘Covid 19’ works. A fascinating journey into how this ‘mutant’ virus kills. This is how Asimov imagined the mutant Mule.

r/Art - The Nothing King, Me, 3D Digital, 2020

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A Mathematical Challenge to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Darwin           tells us where we came from

Freud             tells us what to do about our quilt

Marx              tells us a utopian view of our future

Together they form the traditional Judeo-Christian Materialistic World ViewJudeo-Christian Ethics.

Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

There is a monument at the Texas State Capitol of the Ten Commandments which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in its Van Orden v. Perry (2005) decision. The Ten Commandments Monument also stands in Fargo ND’s Civic Center Courtyard. It can be seen in the far background behind the thesis Scherling imagines for this Ten Monument Poster, which he wrote about in this High Plains Reader essay. This poster is available by contacting Scherling.

A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard
By Steven A Scherling

   One year ago, during Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument debate, a local professor supported his argument for removing Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument with this reasoning, “Try to imagine you have recently escaped persecution in another country and are now a refugee in the United States. You travel to city hall or a courthouse to find a tablet saying, ‘Thou shalt not have other gods before me.’ What if you aren’t Christian? Are you going to feel as though you will get a fair treatment in this country? Your entire life has been one of fear of being hurt or killed for not belonging to the accepted group. And you escape that, only to find an apparent requirement to belong to another group” (Reasons clear why marker should be removed, Forum 9/03/03). His rationale is that emigrants and refugees entering public buildings should not have to pass any such religious monument so remove them all.                   

    I tried putting myself in refugee shoes, walking into Fargo’s Civic Center courtyard for my first civic experience, and thought about what I would like to greet me. Instead of having no references to the center of life, I would prefer to see the Civic Center courtyard displaying monuments to the many ways men and women have found to touch center ground – place monuments to all beliefs and to “no belief”, if no belief is possible. For me the most welcoming reception would be to see all religions openly acknowledged – this would tell me that Fargo’s belief systems are encompassing and accommodating. And this seems to be the issue – are we open and tolerant to all beliefs?

    This summer I was working on a Fargo photo collage and when I took a photo of the Civic Center, I saw an opportunity to state my opinion photographically. With a panorama of the Civic Center at the top and the green lawn extended downward, I placed at the poster’s center a photo of the Ten Commandments Monument. I then selected saying from the other religions Houston Smith, author of The Religions of Man, discusses to surround the Ten Commandments Monument photo. These saying may not be the ones others would choose to represent these faiths but they have similar themes.

   I had the opportunity while at UND in the 1970s to attend visiting lectures by Houston Smith and in the last chapter of this book he suggests that at the core of man’s religions we find the same underlying truth. In Smith’s final chapter, he asks us to ponder, “how do these religions fit together? In what relation do they stand to one another?” He poses three answers and suggests a direction forward. The first is that one religion is clearer and superior in expressing religious truth. The challenge here is to live to the depths of them all in order to make this judgment. The second is that in “all important respect they are the same” – each contains a version of the Golden Rule, sees man’s self-centeredness as source of his troubles and seeks to help, and acknowledge a universal Divine Ground from which man rose and good is sought. The challenge is again to fully understand them and then decide how to fit them together.

    The third answer stands in contrast to the first two, in that, not all religions say the same thing but they do have a similar unity. Nor does it find one tradition to be superior, for if God is a God of love, surely, He would be revealing himself to all others as difference necessitated. The third answer is the most challenging in that the light of man’s religions derives from the “same source.” Smith suggests the challenge in this third response is “whether our personal, autonomous reason is qualified to stand judgment on matters as important as these, picking and choosing what in other traditions is authentic and what is spurious?”

   Smith’s last question is, “What should be our approach to the religions of man from this point on?” Here I suggest Smith misses the point, in that we should not be about “picking and choosing” with “autonomous reason” but of exploring inwardly with symbolic reasoning our common source – our common collective unconscious. Smith’s suggestion that we must listen first to our own faith and then to others, left me wondering what listening involves. Smith views the “same religions source” as an objective rather than a subjective experience and thus left me looking for more direction.

    In the face of the threats Smith saw in 1958 from “nationalism, materialism, and conformity” (today add terrorism) he correctly calls attention to the urgency of opening a dialogue on “man’s spiritual life.” In spite of these plagues, Smith called this a potentially “great century” if, however, the scientific achievements of the first half are matched by “comparable achievements in human relations” in the second. What happened to Smith’s call for a basic change human relation? How do we rate the capacity of man’s mind today to destroy itself? Where have all the soldiers gone? Still going to fields everyone….

    Indeed, soldiers are still going, as suggested by C.G. Jung, in that the body count in the wake of 20th Century’s political faiths surpasses the slaughter left by the crusaders, inquisitor, and Holy Wars following the Reformation. Jung writes, “Not even the medieval epidemics of bubonic plague or smallpox killed as many people as certain differences of opinion in 1914 or certain political ‘ideals’ in Russia.” There certainly is an urgency to find common understanding – a new universal spirituality.

   In considering Smith’s approach to “religions from this point on”, I discovered John Dourley’s book, The illness that we are, to offer a point of departure. What is unique is Dourley’s thesis that a universal subjective symbolic reasoning process provides a way to deeply listen, understand, and dialogue about man’s common religious function. Symbolic reasoning addresses this key concern of Smith’s, “Who does not have to fight an unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior?”

    Smith closes his book with this Jesus saying, “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” However, at a deeper level this Jesus saying, “First take the beam out your own eye,” has to precede “Loving thy neighbor as thy self” or “Doing unto others…” Symbolic reasoning is about “understanding the beams”, which in turn unveils the “unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior” or that “evil” is out there in an “empire” or “triad” and can be eradicated. A more universal spirituality might begin by placing many religious monuments in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard.

Scherling, S.A., 2004, Ten Commandments or a new universal spirituality in our Civic Center courtyard? High Plains Reader, October 14, Vol.11, Iss.6. p.3. www.hpr1.com.

Copyright © by Steven Arvid Scherling All Rights Reserved. Contact Scherling to order pints and posters. Steven.Scherling@gmail.com; 701.540.8454

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Thomas Sowell On Living With Joe Biden

I became acquainted with Thomas Sowell a year ago after returning from China just as the Covid-19 pandemic was infecting the World and the US Election year was entering ‘warp velocity’. Sowell is an economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which is a  conservative American public policy research institution that “promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.” This fellow is sharp and has written several books demonstrating his smarts. I suspect we will need to read one or more of his books in order to fully understand his conservatism. All this unfolds as we have Joe Biden’s Democratic ‘liberal’ party assuming ‘control’ of the three branches of Government. I suspect Republicans will soon come to the conclusion that Donald Trump was an ‘outlier’ and begin ‘praying in tongues’ that their party is not dead and can rise from its ashes.

There were 11 Blog entries with Trump’s name in the title and this is the first with Biden’s name in the title, one down, really – 10 to go! I hope I live this long. These will not be presented chronologically but by what appear to be unfolding topics and we begin with Sowell tying to educate Joe Biden, which will be a difficult task, may not be possible, however, we will be witnessing in real-time, up-close, in-your-face – a real danger just ahead. We will end with Sowell speaking about “Kamala Harris’ Communist Video” – today our Putin Scare. Okay, give me a break, tiring out a dramatic writing style. What you think Barry?

Thomas Sowell educates Joe Biden

 

Thomas Sowell on why Joe Biden must not become President

 

Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions

Published on Nov 4, 2008 Sowell describes the critical differences between interests and visions. Interests, he says, are articulated by people who know what their interests are and what they want to do about them. Visions, however, are the implicit assumptions by which people operate. In politics, visions are either constrained or unconstrained. A closer look at the statements of both McCain and Obama reveals which vision motivates their policy positions, particularly as they pertain to the war, the law, and economics.

Thomas Sowell on the Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals

Published on May 9, 2012 Peter Robinson talks to economist Thomas Sowell about his book “Intellectuals and Society.” Robinson and Sowell discuss the fact that intellectuals play a disproportionate role in society, as evidenced by linguist Noam Chomsky’s influence on liberal politics. Is a fancy education a high-speed rail ticket to fallacy? Find out as Professor Sowell discusses the pride and fallacies of the intellectuals, in addition to the unused brilliance of the masses.

Thomas Sowell on Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and Other left-wing Intellectuals

 

Thomas Sowell on the Origins of Economic Disparities

Recorded on April 1, 2019 Is discrimination the reason behind economic inequality in the United States? Thomas Sowell dismisses that question with a newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities. He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss the long history of disparities among humans around the world and throughout time. He argues that discrimination has significantly less of a role to play in inequality than contemporary politicians give it credit for, and that something as incontrovertible as birth order of children has a more significant and statistically higher impact on success than discrimination. He discusses why parental attention is the most important aspect of a child’s intellectual development. Sowell goes on to break down different minority groups around the world who went on to have more economic and political success than their majority counterparts, such as the Indians in East Africa, Jewish people in Eastern Europe, Cubans in the United States, and the Chinese in Malaysia. He argues that there is an underlying assumption that if discrimination was absent equality would prevail, which historically has been proven wrong. Sowell goes on to discuss changes in crime rates and poverty since the expansion of US welfare programs in the 1960s and how this has had a huge impact on the success of African Americans. He talks about his own experience growing up in New York, how housing projects used to be considered a positive place to live, and his experience as the first member of his family to enter the seventh grade. Robinson asks Sowell his thoughts on the case for reparations currently being made in Congress, and Sowell presents an argument about why a plan for reparations is not only illogical but also impossible to implement, with so many US citizens’ ancestors arriving long after the Civil War. He also explains that slavery was common throughout the known world for thousands of years and that abolition movements didn’t begin anywhere in the world until the late 18th century. He reminds us that the United States was not the only country guilty of participating in slavery and yet is the only country debating reparations.

Thomas Sowell and Feminists

 

We might as well begin this new Presidency thinking about Thomas Sowell on Kamala Harris’ Communist Video which premiered Nov 11, 2020 and has Sowell debunking Harris’ video about using government power to achieve equality among groups. 0:00 – Intro 0:18 – How inequality is the rule, not the exception 3:27 – Why Using government power to create equality among groups is a bad idea.

 

This has been a lot to absorb! If I were back at UND, CUHK, NTU, UIBE, NDSU, UMary, or Concordia, I would have shown these clips in class, discussed them with students, and then together asked us to each write a 5-page 1.5 spaced paper on our experience. I now need, no will write this paper.

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Neutering Trump

The Frontline PBS ‘President Biden’ https://www.facebook.com/frontline program airs at 9pm tonight, 01.19.2021. There are now 30 hours remaining of the Trump Nightmare and many are counting the hours down just like counting the hours of the old year heralding in the New. Many are struggling to understand what is happening. A psychoanalytical analysis of what has happened these last four years now shifts into overdrive. Several days ago, I began to re-read Erich Neumann’s book ‘Depth Psychology and A New Ethic’s’ Chapter IV The New Ethic – searching for some hint about what is coming. Neumann began writing this book as WWII was ending, Nazi Evil had just been defeated.

Neumann was a student of Jung, Freud, and Adler, but followed Jung’s analytical theory more closely. His New Ethic 1948 addresses the issues he saw unfolding after Nazism almost squeezed the life out of Europe. Trump Evil is the same nazi evil that has possessed the US these last four years and may now be ending, we can hope! I will again re-read and write-up the Neumanns new ethic, however, in the meantime this Recollectivization – Eric Neumann beautifully addresses the challenge ahead. This is horror… 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, …

 

There seems to be ‘a force’ about this morning since as soon as I posted my re-reading of Eric Neumann’s essay, on my pc screen was – Edward Bernays and Group Psychology: Manipulating the Masses and I immediately thought this is what Trump is planning. This video addresses the ideas of Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who pioneered “the field of public relations and modern propaganda – particularly his ideas on how group psychology can be used to manipulate the masses.” Is it possible that the individual’s Trump will be pardoning today, will form a group he will lead following Bernays group psychology methods to continue building the Trump myth? However, this may be too deep for Trump Inc. to think up, or is it? This might be the beginning of a thriller-horror story! What do you think Barry?

 

We need a third video to round out what has unfolded above and this one fits The psychology of Power – How to dethrone tyrants, which addresses how to neuter Trump once he is out of the Presidency. The ‘psychology of power’ reminds one of David McClelland a noted psychologist for his work on motivation the Need Theory, which is comprised of the Need for Achievement, Need for affiliation, and the Need for Power. These three exist in a dynamic that forms the individual’s personality and that is measured with the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). We cannot measure Trump’s personality, however, from observations, we can analyze his personality as high on power, moderate on achievement, and low on affiliation. From this, we could sketch a description of Trump. However, this is not our interest, neither is dethroning, now we want to neutralize, the power-hungry Trump once he is out of office? Okay, we might follow Slavoj Žižek’s Russian joke about dusting balls and just cut Trump’s off. All we would hear is Trump’s voice go up an octave.

 

This video on neutering Trump is well done. The final point to make is what McClelland calls the positive aspect of power, which I addressed in the Blog Individuation of Ethics – Justice. When we work at becoming self-actualized persons, individuation, we cannot be influenced by tyrants – our Self is hard at work of ‘becoming’,  Justice now waits for Trump! Many will be watching Biden’s inaugural ceremony tomorrow and afterward, most will take a deep breath of fresh air! There are now 11 posts with Trump’s name in the title, I expect this is the last.

 

 

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Facing The Dragon Of Grandiosity

I re-visited the blog Integral Spirituality: No Boundaries posted on July 27, 2016 and realized that its theme is still unfolding. I sent my friend Ubaldo, a psychoanalyst, this Blog post to get a deeper understanding of this topic and this can be read in the commentary section.  I then posted Health and Self-Actualization and am now drafting ‘Health and Individuation’. The unfolding logic here is to compare Maslow’s ‘self-actualization’ and Jung’s ‘individualization’ processes for obtaining ‘psychoanalytical health’ – facing the dragon within.

My recent outreach to Ubaldo was hoping to rekindle a deeper interaction with him. However, something in our past dialogues triggered a hurt that he seems to have chosen to hang onto. This seems to be similar to what my grade-school friend Jim and I are experiencing – no interactions going on now for months. Ubaldo is a highly educated psychoanalytical professional and Jim a grade schoolmate, technically trained, IBM associate. It is obvious that I need to look within in order to restore psychoanalytical health. This is a good New Year’s Resolution! However, this can not be done alone – needed are friends – all of us need the ‘other’!

I had two dreams in the night as I continued reading Moore’s book ‘Facing The Dragon’. Before getting out of bed, I lay there wondering what this Morning’s Page would be like. With all the had gone on in the night, I need not have worried about writing this morning – it just flows out and onto the page, just as Julia Cameron says it does in her book The Artist’s Way I follow Julia’s suggestion every morning and just begin my ‘morning page’ after getting a cup of coffee. What follows just bubbles to the surface as she writes should be the way morning pages emerge.

What captures my imagination this morning, is Moore identifying the challenge now facing the United States. This challenge “is to rediscover ways to use ritual processes and mythic vessels to contain and channel grandiose ‘god-energies’. We can do this in a conscious way informed by new psychoanalytic insights. Our forebears, lacking such insight, used myth and ritual to displace their grandiose energies onto their various tribal groups. They had no way of knowing that it was a bogus solution to achieve personal humility by displacing grandiosity onto the tribe, the royal personage, or the nation’s identity. Social displacement of grandiosity still leaves the grandiose energies intact and fundamentally unchallenged. They have, in effect, gone underground and achieved social and even spiritual camouflage and sanction. This kind of failed social displacement mechanism has been the engine behind all genocides, all racism, classism, sexism, nationalistic hubris, and religious and ideological warfare” (76). Moore notes that this is the same engine behind the Enron debacle and the 9.11 Twin Towers attack. (italics added)

I now suggest that this again is the same engine behind the 1.6.2021 U.S. Senate Chamber occupation? How so? I suggest that Trump’s instigation encouraging his supporters to forcefully enter and attack the Senate Chambers is a displacement of energies bottled up in the U.S.’s national identity, its nationalistic hubris? What we now hear in the news is the U.S. being compared to a ‘third-world banana republic ruled by a despot’, which Trump is showing us it is. The clear and present danger now being reported is that Trump’s 20 million ult-right supports are still behind a sitting U.S. President until January 20th. Will Trump further move to reveal the banana republic that we really are? Even after this date, Trump it is suggested has a ‘marching army’ of supporters and the show goes on.

However, the point being made here is that Trump may be doing the U.S. an important service – exposing its hypocrisy, its nationalist hubris of who U.S. citizens think they are. The U.S. is not the beacon on a hill, giving all “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that she thinks she does. Dragging Fargo’s Broadway, we observe rags-dressed Old Joe peeking into garbage cans or his lunch and then we glance across the street to see gray pin-striped suited Governor Doug Bergum entering the Ho Do for his martini lunch – what hypocrisy!

It is unlikely that Trump can imagine providing an empathic act for the Nation – suggesting the U.S. should be engaged in serious self-reflection. We now wait to see if Biden possesses the empathy we need.  Trump’s presidency’s end is just ahead and we pause as if frozen. We should not have to wait long for historians’ evaluations of Donald Trump Presidency, but there may be surprises. My Dragon is awake and I am learning to ride her. Eragon riding Saphira.

Sources:
Terrorists among us. by Carl Aabye & R.J. Letnes. 2003. [Remembering my friend Barry -I let us down.]
The Enemy Within: How a Totalitarian Movement is Destroying America by David Horowitz. 2021.

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The Empathic Civilization

I started writing this Empathic Civilization Blog entry several years ago and for some reason did not complete it.  When it began, we were watching politicians, reporters, and experts talking about the shooting of Republican congressmen while practicing baseball and no one is addressing what someone mentions in passing as the systemic cause of American violence. “Systemic refers to something that is spread throughout, system-wide, affecting a group or system, such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole.” Wikipedia further defines systemic into three areas, medicine, biology, and other, which we will label as psychological. A psychological definition will help us construct a research framework to study American culture’s systemic risks. These eight definitions are inter-related and should be helpful in understanding not only the culture of violence but violence itself and needs to be processed into a research project framework. Some work lies ahead to implement this Systemic research strategy:

• Systemic (amateur extrasolar planet search project), a research project to locate extrasolar planets using distributed computing
• Systemic bias, the inherent tendency of a process to favor particular outcomes
• Systemic functional grammar, a model of grammar that considers language as a system
• Systemic functional linguistics, an approach to linguistics that considers language as a system
• Systemic psychology or systems psychology, a branch of applied psychology based on systems theory and thinking
• Systemic risk, the risk of collapse of an entire financial system or market, as opposed to risk associated with any one entity
• Systemic shock, a shock to any system strong enough to drive it out of equilibrium, can refer to a change in many fields
• Systemic therapy, a school of psychology dealing with the interactions of groups and their interactional patterns and dynamics

As we study these elements, look carefully for interrelationships keeping this definition of Complex Theory in mind:

Complexity theory is an interdisciplinary theory that grew out of systems theory in the 1960s.[1]:350 It draws from research in the natural sciences that examines uncertainty and non-linearity.[1] Complexity theory emphasizes interactions and the accompanying feedback loops that constantly change systems. While it proposes that systems are unpredictable, they are also constrained by order-generating rules.[2]:74
Complexity theory has been used in the fields of strategic management and organizational studies. Application areas include understanding how organizations or firms adapt to their environments and how they cope with conditions of uncertainty. The theory treats organizations and firms as collections of strategies and structures. The structure is complex; in that they are dynamic networks of interactions, and their relationships are not aggregations of the individual static entities. They are adaptive; in that the individual and collective behavior mutate and self-organize corresponding to a change-initiating micro-event or collection of events.[3][4]

After composing the above ideas in this essay, I took a break and watched the Morning Joe Show, where co-author Chris Fussell and foreword writer General Stan McChrystal were discussing how their new book tackles how to build a ‘Team of Teams. The  MJS staff wrote an excerpt from ‘One Mission’  stating this as the book’s mission:

“In 2014 I was invited to join my former commanding officer, Stan McChrystal, as a co-author in writing Team of Teams. Our goal in writing it was to offer our view on why the military models of the twentieth century were fundamentally misaligned with the realities of an information- age battlefield. The speed and interconnectivity of this new type of conflict forced the senior leadership within our branch of the special operations community to make a choice: lead us through a culture change or potentially lose the fight against Al Qaeda. They chose the former. Team of Teams explored a simple idea that sat at the epicenter of the challenge in making this culture change: How can large organizations move with the speed and agility of a small team? In that vein, our writing team laid out the reactive small-team dynamics that are so powerfully highlighted within special operations units, as well as in any number of other high-performing teams. We explained that a small team’s ability to quickly adapt comes from the combination of four key drivers.”

Gen. McChrystal and Navy SEAL Chris Fussell on leadership on CBS.

Joe in true fashion asked if this system could be applied to any organization and of course, the answer is yes. However, as smooth as this book might be, I have not read it yet, it does not seem to address the “systemic risk” of the U.S culture! As such, a smooth technique cannot fix a flawed system!

I am reminded of David Harvey’s work and this clip outlines the Crises of Capitalism. Here we see Queen Elizabeth’s reaction when she is told by her economists that the 2008 world economic crisis was due to the “systemic risk” inherent in capitalism. “What, systemic risk?”

What we saw the Republican shooter protesting was the sign he was holding, “Tax the wealthy as we used to do” – this is the big issue – the systemic risk in our economic, cultural system. It is the American capitalistic culture that is making us sick! So, how to go deep into fixing it is our challenge! I have not yet seen this being discussed in the news. Of course not, we were told to be aware of the “military-industrial-media complex”, and no way is Morning Joe going to shoot himself in the foot – committing class-treason is difficult.

Trump’s move away from globalization, toward nationalism, is absolutely wrong and dangerous!  Jeremy Rifkin’s work on “The Empathic Civilisation” is the framework moving to civilized globalization, we now wait to see if President-Elect Bidden will be able to lead this necessary change.

Finally, we have Ed Raymond’s HPR essay on Aggressive rats and monkeys, which is a look at what we are becoming. Ed writes this in his column on June 14th, 2017, which is an issue NIMH might re-visiting anew today January 14th, 2021. Covid19 should be reducing our “hyper-aggressive and violent behavior toward one another” thus moving us toward a more empathic civilization?

Over 50 years ago the National Institute of Mental Health used rats and mice to dramatically demonstrate how crowding affects behavior. Animals crammed into a small place with nowhere to go become hyper-aggressive and violent toward one another. As a farm boy I experienced horses, pigs, cows, and geese often fighting for a place at the feed trough.
The research proved that the greater the density the more deviant the behavior. If there is a common experience associated with large crowds, such as a popular rock band playing favorites before 50,000 waving and clapping hands, we love being in that atmosphere. But when you have 200 passengers boarding an aircraft, perhaps with a 100 different reasons for flying, the only common experience they have is the confines of the aircraft. (HPR).

 

 

 

 

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The Spirit of Grandiosity and The Dynamics of Evil

We watched the attack on the White House, then live US House and Senate sessions on the ‘Trump Tragedy’, then watched Nancy Pelosi’s news briefing, where we witnessed someone fearing the remaining days of Trump’s presidency. My bookcase reached out to me with Robert Moore’s book ‘Facing The Dragon’ saying re-read me. I am now re-reading this book, where Robert Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity. Psychoanalyst Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity—the feeling you possess some tremendous hidden power—and its corrupted forms if it is not acknowledged and brought into its proper place in our lives, whether tamed or untamed. This is in part an analytical description of Trump’s mental state but Moore’s list of assumptions on the nature and dynamics of evil frighteningly describes Trump as evil! This ends with Robert Bly’s lecture on the ‘gift of grandiosity’, which I suspect is understood by President Biden. sas

The Nature and Dynamics of Evil:

  1. Evil is a reality with an agency of its own.
  2. The presence of evil can be felt in the enchanting power of denial on the individual, familial, cultural levels, the seductive power of what the philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich called “dreaming innocence.”
  3. The chief tactic of evil is to present the human individual and community with a false, deceptive reorientation of reality. In short, it lies.
  4. Evil, therefore, has the capacity to clothe and disguise itself in forms that seem innocent, good, or at least justified, and have a seductive attractiveness.
  5. Being near this evil enchantment causes you to lose your powers of discernment and vigilance, and your spiritual and moral light grows dim. Its influence is contagious. Tribal peoples around the world recognized this danger and built an elaborate system of taboo and ritual “insulation” against it.
  6. An evil presence can get inside your community, family, home, and body, and even into your psyche before you realize the danger exists. It is already “in the house” by the time you realize you have a problem.
  7. Once inside, evil begins to erode the foundations of personal and social life by presenting itself as the true center of life. It functions as a “black hole,” a power vortex that, in effect, attacks Being itself. This is the human reality behind the biblical injunction against idolatry, “You shall have no other gods before me.” We can read it this way, “You shall not create bogus or pseudo centers for your life and society.”
  8. Evil multiplies itself on your energy, your lifeblood, your creativity. It co-opts your good and often magnificent energies and potentials, and makes them serve hatred, sadism, oppression, and the destruction of health and life. It recruits and diverts the energies of life and creativity into the service of death.
  9. Evil denies the reality of death and all human limitations. It makes an insatiable, limitless quest the substitute for legitimate expansion of the individual self. It puts polymorphous desires and pleasure in place of a social concern for the community and the consequences of one’s actions. It infects us with what Kierkegaard called “the sickness of infinitude.”
  10. The presence of evil can be seen in its effects on the persons and community around it. It is not simply an idea or an absence of some positive quality. It is an active, aggressive, antilife force that attacks the health and vitality of everyone around it. “You shall know them by their fruits.” (5-6)

Robert Bly Lecture on The Gift of Grandiosity


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Herbert Marcuse Matinee – January 6, 2021

I published these clips before and feel on this day January 6, 2021, when the Electoral College of the US formally confirms President-elect Biden’s win, a time to reconsider what Herbert Marcuse thinks.

Herbert Marcuse Interview about One Dimensional Man (1964)

 

Herbert Marcuse – Technology of Liberation (1967)

Herbert Marcuse – The Radical Movement: A Marxist Analysis (1971)

Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School (1977)

Herbert Marcuse interviewed by Helen Hawkins (1979)

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