The Lost Keys to Management

Introduction

“I think, therefore, I am” has long been man’s distinguishing characteristic. But, exactly where does thinking take place? Early ideas located thinking in the heart, the gut and along the spinal cord. The Chinese ideogram for think, xiang, has the ideogram xin, meaning heart, as part of its construction, which in the past may reflect the Chinese location of this function. Today, most scientists locate the function of thinking inside the brain. And the way man’s brain “thinks” or to use psychological terminology “processes information” has become a major concern to psychologists and managers.

The Mind in Everyday Affairs

Bell Telephone executive Chester I. Barnard, over 40 years ago, recognized the importance of the “mind in everyday affairs”. In the appendix of his book, Functions of the Executive, he identifies the logical process of the mind as conscious thinking, which utilizes words and symbols, and is referred to as reasoning. The non-logical process is unconscious (intuitive) which is built up from experience and the surrounding environment. Barnard identified the thinking styles of different functional managers, but maintained that the effective manager will have access to either process depending upon the situation. His estimate of the balance of these two processes is: “Logical reasoning process is increasingly necessary but is disadvantaged if not in subordination to highly developed intuitional process.1 Executives such as Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors and Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels have made similar endorsements for the role of intuition in their decision-making processes.

Approaches to Human Information Processing

Since Barnard’s recognition, psychologists and management scholars have conducted extensive studies on human information processing, HIP. Three approaches can be identified: The first approach develops a heuristic model describing how an individual makes a decision in a complex situation.

The second approach to HIP focuses on the cognitive complexity of the individual’s conceptual system. Four decision making styles have been identified based on (1) the use of a single or multiple focus and (2) the amount of information utilized. The four styles are: decisive (single focus, low usage), hierarchic (single focus, high usage), flexible (multiple focus, low usage), and integrative (multiple focus, high usage). In addition, an individual’s interaction with environmental complexity is analyzed in order to understand the most efficient combination of information processing configuration. An important application of this approach is the matching of managers to decision situations.

The third approach emphasizes the dual nature of HIP and identifies styles that are qualitatively different from each other. Decision-makers using logical routines are classified as analytic or systematic and those using more non-logical routines are classified as unsystematic or intuitive. The duality of HIP is extensively supported by neurological evidence and also has a well developed philosophical/ psychological foundation, which suggests we consider this approach more closely.

The Duality of HIP

Substantial neurological evidence indicates that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere directs the left. Roger W. Sperry and his associates have tested patients who have had a surgical operation in the treatment of epilepsy, which severs the corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebrum. These tests clearly illustrate the hemispheric specialization. For example, an object, such as a key, placed out of sight in a person’s left hand, cannot be named. The left hand communicates to the right hemisphere that a key is being held, but this information cannot be communicated to the left hemisphere where speech is controlled. The person knows what is being held with one mind, but is not able verbally to express it with the other. Later, when the person is given several objects, including the key, and asked to select the previously given object with his left hand, the key can be identified, although the person cannot state verbally just what he was doing.2

In another experiment, a woman is shown a picture of a nude woman in a series of otherwise routine pictures by only showing it to the left side of each eye, which registers in the right hemisphere. At first she reported seeing nothing, but simultaneously blushes and seems uncomfortable. Her “conscious” left hemisphere is only aware that something has happened to her body, which the “unconscious” right knew and triggered the body reaction.

Although each hemisphere shares the potential of the other, they do tend to specialize. The left hemisphere specializes in logical-analytical thinking, especially utilizing verbal and mathematical functions, which exhibit sequential information processing. The right hemisphere is more holistic/relational and is responsible for orientation in space, body image, recognition of faces, responsibilities requiring a simultaneous information processing. A number of opposites have been proposed to distinguish the left vs. right hemisphere models: Logical vs. non-Logical; sequential vs. simultaneous; objective vs. subjective; deductive vs. inductive; ‘analytic vs. synthetic; active vs. passive; yin vs. yang..

The philosophies of the West and the East also reveal the duality of HIP. Western philosophy’s Greek heritage views nature as dark, chaotic and in need of human control and rationality. This has led to the Western scientific method characterized by action, encountering, manipulating, dissecting, which aligns with the left hemisphere of rational processing.

In contrast, Eastern philosophy considers nature to be in harmony with man and the human response is to flow with its rhythm. The “emphasis” here then is to consider how disorder arises and can be avoided, which aligns with the right hemisphere of non-logical processing. The Chinese, “wu wei” or “taking no unnecessary action” expresses this attitude. The Taoist circular symbol of overlapping dark and light, yin and yang symbolized the unity of hemisphere differentiation and represents a goal to be reached in our individual development.

A number of psychological theories could be presented in order to represent this foundation, but the work of Carl Jung provides a particularly useful one, since he was keenly interested in the Chinese Tao if[ . Jung’s personality theory identifies two HIP dimensions.3 These are perception (receiving information) and judging (manipulating information). Perception can be via the senses (S) which is a conscious process or via intuition (N) which is unconscious.

Additionally, there are two modes of judging; thinking (T) which is rational inference and feeling (F) which is value oriented discriminations. Either mode of perception can pair with those of judging, resulting in four distinct HIP styles: sensing-thinking (ST), intuition-thinking (NT), sensing-feeling (SF), and intuition-feeling (NF). Although all four styles are present, and considered to be inherent in the individual, each person has a constitutional propensity toward the utilization and development of a superior perception-judgment pairing. This constitutional determinant in combination with environmental opportunities and demands is responsible for shaping the individual’s superior function.

However, individuals are potentially capable of two auxiliary perception-judgment combinations and one inferior pairing. These are usually dormant and underdeveloped. The auxiliary modes share one of the functions, either perception or judgment, with the superior mode, while the inferior mode is the opposite combination of the superior pairing.

Consider the characteristics of a person with an ST processing style. This person tends to utilize sensing for gathering information and rational thinking for judging. He would attend to facts with an impersonal analysis. He is more practical and matter of fact and develops abilities with technical skills in working with facts and objects. One likely occupation would be that of a technician, i.e. an accountant.

Taggart and Robey describe how different managers might respond to a subordinate whose performance has been rated marginal. For example, “An ST manager responds with ‘Improve your performance or you’re fired!’ (factual, impersonal, practical). The NT manager’s attitude moderates a bit with ‘If your performance does not improve, you will be transferred to another position.’ (possibilities, impersonal, ingenious). The SF manager approaches the problem with ‘You need to change, what can we do to help you?’ (factual, personal, sympathetic). And the NF manager suggests ‘You can improve you performance, let me suggest an approach.’ (possibilities, personal, insightful).”4 Any of the approaches might be successful depending on the circumstances and a flexible manager, one whose auxiliary styles are not too rusty, will be able to respond appropriately.

 Measuring HIP Styles

A number of approaches to measuring HIP styles are being utilized in research studies and managerial training sessions. One, which is quite new, is the measurement of physiological state indicators (electro-encephalograms and electrical skin resistance). Doktor’s studies of business executives and operation research analysts, who solved two different types of problems (one analytic the other intuitive) found that executives tended to use more right brain processing on both tasks.5 A second measurement approach infers HIP styles by observing a subject’s problem solving behavior. This approach tries to determine what a person actually does in a certain situation. The third approach infers HIP style from self-description inventories which measures a person’s preference by asking him what he would do in various situations. The Mayer-Briggs Type Indicator; which has had extensive validation, identifies the lung personality types.6 Each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages and research effort is continuing to improve their reliability and validity.

Implications of HIP for Organizational Functioning

Understanding HIP theory and its research findings has a number of implications in every aspect of organizational functioning. The areas of HIP’s impact can be represented by a series of concentric circles beginning at the center with the ancient Greek motto “Know thy self’. It goes without saying that the effective manager is one who knows his strengths and weaknesses. Reflecting on past decision-making situations is helpful, as well as individual testing to analytically identify one’s style. With this knowledge, effort can be taken to develop one’s auxiliary and inferior styles. Consider Abraham Maslow’s (a Western educated psychologist) call for an Eastern way to understanding one’s self, which emphasizes the right hemisphere process. Maslow states, “….one of the necessary methods in the search for identify, the search for self, the search for spontaneity and for naturalness is a matter of closing your eyes, cutting down the noise, turning off the thoughts, putting away all busyness, just relaxing in a kind of  Daoistic and receptive fashion. . . . and just wait to see what happens, what comes to mind. This is what Freud called free association, free-floating attention rather than task-orientation and, if you are successful in this effort, and learn how to do it you can forget about the outside world and the noises and begin to hear these small, delicate impulse-voices from within, the hints from your animal nature, not only from your common species-nature, but also from your own uniqueness.”7

A second application is the identification of subordinate styles, which can greatly assist interpersonal interactions. For example, the delegation of responsibility to different subordinates requires “fine tuning” in the way you explain what is to be done. Barnard states the challenge: “It requires discerning the mental state and processes of the person to be convinced, adopting his mentality, ‘sensing’, what is valid from his point of view and meeting it by apparently rational expression. . . . . .”8 Knowing your subordinate, peer or superior’s cognitive style should direct you in structuring your interactions.

The third concentric circle represents group decision making. The concept of “operations research” originating in England during WWII, combined individuals with different educational background so that different viewpoints would be brought to the decision-making process. A manager with knowledge of individual cognitive styles can select group members to complement each other and thereby be assured of a more effective and efficient decision-making process. The over reliance on left hemisphere rational processing needs to be counter-balanced with the right hemisphere intuitive processing.

The fourth circle is that of the organization and the knowledge that different departments in an organization tend to have different cognitive styles. Lawrence and Lorsch have identified differences between production, personnel, marketing and R & D departments along the dimensions of time, interpersonal and goal orientation and formal structure.9 Such differences invariably lead to inter group conflict, which can be reduced by sensitizing groups to the differences in cognitive styles.

In considering the final concentric circle of society, the work of Geert Hofstede can be cited. Hofstede defines culture as “the collective mental programming of the people in an environment.”10 Cultural mental programming is a result of the common life experiences and education a group of people share. Hofstede was particularly concerned with the influence a national environment has in producing a national characteristic.

After extensive study and research in one large multinational corporation with subsidiaries in 40 countries, Hofstede identified four dimensions along which nations can differ.11 The four dimensions are:

Power Distance – the extent to which a society accepts the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed equally.

Uncertainty avoidance – the extent to which a society feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and tries to avoid this situation by providing greater career stability, establishing more formal rules, not tolerating deviant ideas and behaviors, and believing in absolute truths and the attainment of expertise.

Individualism-(Collectivism) – Individualism implies a loosely knit social framework in which people are supposed to take care of themselves and their immediate families only, while collectivism is characterised by a tight social framework in which people distinguish between in-groups and out-groups; they expect their in-group (relatives, clan, organizations) to look after them, and in exchange for that they feel they owe absolute loyalty to it.

Masculinity-(Femininity) – High masculinity societies are those in which the dominate values are assertiveness, the acquisition of money and things, and not caring for others, the quality of life or people.

Using the data collected from this one corporation, Hofstede constructs three diagrams by plotting the dimension results two dimensions at a time, i.e. Power Distance X Uncertainty Avoidance; Power Distance X Individualism; and Masculinity X Uncertainty Avoidance. These three diagrams represent what Hofstede calls “a composite set of cultural maps of the world.” The implications drawn from these three maps relate to a nation’s optimum organizational structure, motivation patterns, and leadership style.

Of particular interest to us are the results obtained from the Hong Kong sample. Hong Kong’s results are as follows:

. On Power Distance at rank 33 out of the 40 countries (Measured from below) it is above average.
.  On Uncertainty Avoidance at rank 4 out of 40, it is below average.
. On Individualism at rank 9 out of 40, it is low, indicating a collectivist orientation.
. On Masculinity at rank 24 out of 40, it is slightly above average.

For comparison purposes the rank’s of the United States are 15, 9, 40, 28 and those of Great Britain are 10, 6, 38,33.

Hofstede’s findings have many applications with respect to management practices in differing cultures. For example, a society with a large power distance would not likely accept the low power distance implied in Management by Objective schemes. Or a society with low uncertainty avoidance would not adapt well to a highly formalized organizational structure. Or in more collectivist societies there may be a higher propensity to remain loyal to the organization rather than calculative. And in societies with a high masculinity index, motivating employees would take the form of achievement rather than social incentives. It should be apparent from these few examples that understanding a society’s mental programming is a pre-requisite for effective and efficient transnational management.

A final example at the societal level is drawn from the world of science fiction, since yesterday’s science fiction seems to have a habit of coming true. This can be illustrated with the example of science fiction movie hero Flash Gordon of the 1930’s becoming Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969.

In this same light Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel Foundation Trilogy may give us a glimpse of how differing societies may come to a mutual understanding of one another; an understanding dependent upon the cognitive development of its leaders. The necessary development is expressed by the First Speaker saying to the First Citizen: “Emotional contact such as you and I possess is not a very new development. Actually, it is implicit in the human brain. Most humans can read emotions in a primitive manner by associating it pragmatically with facial expression, tone of voice, and so on. . . . Actually, humans are capable of much more, but the faculty of direct emotional contact tended to atrophy with the development of speech a million years back. . .. A million years of decay is a formidable obstacle and we must educate the sense, exercise it as we exercise our muscles.”12

Conclusion

The more one experiences the differences between the “East” and the ”West” the more one “feels” the need for a new integration. The development of western rationality, with all its accomplishments, needs “wu wei” of eastern intuition and vice versa. The obstacle to finding the lost keys to management is our own “habits of thought”, which prevent us from following Lao Tz’s suggestion, “one often wins over the world through non-action.”13

The above suggestion of Lao Tz may seem “beyond” the active-analytically trained manager and academician until we review the solid medical evidence showing differences in left/right brain wave occurrences. This fact should attract us into considering more closely how our mind works and what some of the “far out signals”, from ZEN, MEDITATION, ESP, Bio-feedback, Dream Analysis, etc. are signaling. The development of man’s total mind ought to be the goal.

Footnotes

  1. Barnard, I. Chester, The Functions  of the Executive, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1966, p. 301.
  2. Ornstein, Robert E., The Psychology of Consciousness, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1977.
  3. Jung, Carl, “Psychological Types” in the Portable lung edited by Joseph Campbell, New York: Penguin Books, 1976.
  4. Taggart, W. and D. Robey, On the Dual Nature of Human and Management,” Academy of Vol. 6, No.2, 1981, pp. 187-195.
  5. Doktor, R., “The Development and Mapping of Certain Cognitive Styles of Problem Solving”, Doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 1970.
  6. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto California: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1962.
  7. Maslow, M. A., Toward a Psychology of Being, New York: D. Van Mostrand Company, 1968, p. 44.
  8. Barnard, op. cit., p. 308.
  9. Lawrence, P. R., and 1. W. Lorsch, Organization and Environment-Managing Differentiation and Integration, Boston: Harvard University Press, 1967.
  10. Hofstede Geert, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values, Beverly Hills: Sage Pub., 1980.
  11. Hofstede, Geert, “Motivation, Leadership and Organization: Do American Theories Apply Abroad?”, Organizational Dynamics, Summer 1980, p. 45.
  12. Asimov, I., Foundation Trilogy, New York: AVON Books, 1974, p. 242.
  13. Chang Chung-yuan, Tao: A New Way of Thinking: A Translation of the Tao Te Ching with an Introduction and Commentaries, New York: Harper & Row Pub., 1975, 121. 0

Steven Arvid Scherling, BS, MBA, DBA
Lecturer, Department of Marketing & International Business
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Scherling, SA. (1984, March). The lost keys to management. The Hong Kong Manager. Vol.20, No.3, pp.19-22.

 

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Sly like a fox

I have read Ed’s Gadfly column, Crazy like a fox, several times and there is something “not quite right” with the essay. Of course, not with Ed’s syntax, especially knowing and then reading that he spent 36 years, 8 in teaching English and Journalism, and then 28 years is school administration. Ed knows how to diagram a sentence and “enforce” the curriculum! I am thinking Ed is “sly like a fox”, however, that may be giving him too much credit. How can Ed, who participated and contributed to the questionable state of our schooling system, now criticize Secretary of Education for deconstructing it – without first presenting her “deconstruction logic”, providing she has one. I think Ed may be worrying his 36-year investment might be exposed as a “sly trick” he has been playing on us.

I recently re-discovered in my library Ivan Illich’s small book “Toward a history of needs” containing five of his essays and started reading them. The essay “In lieu of education” helped to focus my attention in reading Ed’s crazy fox column. It is like reading in tandem two essays on the same topic but on differing planes. Ivan’s deeper analysis suggests that Ed is unaware of Ivan’s deeper probe. The objective of this musing is to examine Illich’s ‘invariant hidden structure’ in our educational system that I suspect is hiding from Ed (Illich: In lieu of education, 1971).

Bruce, your 1960 encounter with Ed was interesting and also motivated me to look closer at what he had written last week. It seems not quite right to cite Michael Fox’s manifesto and not see the “hidden structure” underlying his chosen profession. Consider Fox’s metaphor about a professor filling a pickle jar with golf-ball size rocks and then asking the class if it is full, which of course it is seen to be, until sand and Coors beer (our favorite Bruce?) are added. Then the professor instructs the class that this “jar is your life and make sure the ingredients are the big stuff, your family, your work, your career, your passions. The rest is just sand, minutiae. It’s in there. It may even be important. But it’s not your first priority.” What is this, ‘it may even be important’ – how so, if it is important?

This is where Michael and Ed both seem not right! The by now sandy beer is the most important ingredient – this is Jung’s individuation and Maslow’s self-actualizing need, “Self-Stuff” making the biggest most important rock the family stick-together. If we do not get individuation right nothing works together smoothly. When I first read this, I did not see the jar finally full and thought what else could be added – of course, it is one’s imagination. The other jar ingredients, your work, your career, are the focus of the Illich’s “invariant hidden structure” that we are investigating. Ed seems to not to realize this.

The theme of Fox’s book “A funny thing happened on the way to the future: Twists and turns” is similar to Illich’s essay “In lieu of education”, both reflecting Ed points out Mark Twain’s statement that “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Fox complies a list of other school dropouts like himself, actors and businesspersons, and get this Ed writes, “have overcome (emphasis added) the lack of formal education to make their mark in the world.” And what is Ed’s and maybe Fox’s criteria for “marking this world” – you guessed it, money, as Ed goes on to point to billionaires that have made their money without formal education. Our society’s criteria of success, money, is not right and ultimately will kill us. Illich’s analysis takes us deep into school-logic that underlies our educational system, which he reminds us was established and is still supported by Kapitalism. It is the State that incorporates The Corporation, which should not be forgotten. If we have issues with Corporations, we have deeper issue with the State.

I am now writing, it appears, following along in Ed’s essay with Ivan’s hovering above in a DeLorean. Ed justifies why our society can place students in his professional hands by detailing his 36 years being educated, teaching, and administrating, and finally moving up to a director of district personnel, a crowning event justifying Ed to proudly state, “I feel I have some credibility.” Yes Ed, as Ivan points out, you were fully indoctrinated and successfully deployed:  “The more education and individual consumes, the more ‘knowledge stock’ he acquires and the higher he rises in the hierarchy of knowledge capitalists. Education thus defines a new class structure for society within which the large consumers of knowledge – those who have acquired greater quantities of knowledge stock – can claim to be of superior value to society. They represent gilt-edged securities in a society’s portfolio of human capital, and access to the more powerful or scarcer tools of production is reserved to them” (Illich, In lieu of education, in Toward a history of needs, 1977: 84). Ed really is a good marine.

After commending Fox’s decision to go-his-own-way despite the warning of one teacher that “You are making a big mistake, Fox, you’re not going to be cute forever”, Ed acknowledges that Michael’s decision to follow his talent and not books was a right decision, after all Michael is a millionaire – what more proof do we need? But then Ed challenges Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as someone “never having entered a public classroom at any level as a student” prompting Ed to surmise that “the Republican Party has the goal of destroying America’s public education system.” In the remaining part of this section, Ed presents in detail the “damage” he thinks Republicans have done and are still doing to the public-school system. Ed then asks this key question, which is an important aspect of Illich’s analytical framework, “How can students learn to read, write, and learn how to use computers and laptops if they don’t have supplies and equipment to do so?” The issue of technology is central in Illich’s analysis of schooling (in 1971 he foresaw the impact of the internet) and Ed ends this section not exploring or at least indicating its importance – he seems to accept technology as a benign entity.

In the last section of his column, Ed presents a flood of polling statistics from the Pew Research Center to criticize “the richest country in the world for refusing to fund education at all levels”. I am reminded of the book “how to lie with statistics” we read as college students. However, more to the point Illich makes – it makes no difference if the right or the left control schooling, their approaches on the surface while different, both lack awareness of what is “hidden” – they both remain unconsciousness or indifferent to what is going on. Ed ends his column with the interesting awareness of Michael in comparing his life experiences with that of the curriculum from Hunter College finding them to be very close, prompting Michael to reflect that he “fulfilled the requirement for each particular course – while having absolutely no idea I was doing it. I might have skipped class, but I didn’t miss any lessons.”

While Michael’s lack of formal education is similar to other successful movie stars and business types, society still needs educated workers. In a previous comment, I suggested Ed’s columns lacked depth but did not defend this statement. I started defending my position here and then in ending this introduction to Illich, he reminded me this about Ed and myself, “In order to see clearly the alternatives we face, we must first distinguished learning from schooling, which means separating the humanistic goal of the teacher from the impact of the invariant structure of the school. This hidden structure constitutes a course of instruction that remains forever beyond the control of the teacher or all of the school board. It necessarily conveys the message that only through schooling can an individual prepare for an adulthood in society, that what is not taught in school is of little value, and that what is learned outside of school is not worth knowing. I call it the hidden curriculum because it constitutes the unalterable framework of the schooling system, within which all changes in the visible curriculum are made.” (In lieu of education, 82).

Wow, as I read Illich, I recalled my past teaching experiences and took note of what had been ‘hiding’ from me. I remember teaching and using management textbooks, now fetching $200 a copy, presenting Maslow’s “Needs Hierarchy Theory”. It may have taken 2 out of 300 pages for these PhD authors to cover Maslow’s Theory, leaving a few paragraphs for Self-Actualization, which they defined as doing all one can for the corporation, building one’s career – being the good worker. Seldom do they address the “deep unconscious work” needed to approach individuation, self-actualization. I came to realize that students are not being taught to care about the deep Self-stuff – the real challenge in business schools is mastering the “mathematics of finance” not the “mathematics of psyche”. There was no time to properly address this math, there are 298 pages I had been told must be covered. Even advanced management classes do not go deep. My attempt at committing class treason is now hovering – preparing a new attack, yes, it has started!

I should not be so hard on Ed – how we go about understanding and addressing the “invariant hidden structure” is tough! To uncover this hidden structure, we have to investigate all the ingredients in our pickle jar – our family, our work, our career, and our passions. Illich states “the economic system” is hiding something. What and why are corporations hiding this knowledge? Why are we, the State, allowing them to hid this knowledge? Illich’s essay examines how schools have turned education into a “commodity”. Pinky’s “class-treason” dialogue is an attempt to reverse this process but as this clip ends, realization hits – more work on this project is badly needed!

I looked for video clips on Illich and there are not many but this one is interesting. Illich was a speaker at the 1984 Water and Dreams Conference sponsored by Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture addressing city life. Illich begins with William Harvey’s discover of the circulation of blood and follows this idea into other circulation of water in cities. (The heading link below is more compete but still illich’s full address is missing.)

Ivan Illich on Water and the History of the Senses – 1984

Ivan recounts that understanding water circulation made possible city life, noting cities were quite stinky until we got the technology right – today 42% of city water is used to flush waste down, out, and in Fargo’s case up the Red River to Grand Forks. Fargo is in the midst of replacing its water and sewer system and over the weekend, we learned that Garrison water will soon be piped to Grand Forks. Then we witnessed hurricane Harvey’s assault on Houston and are learning now the its water circulation is not right. I liked Michael Fox’s saying at one time he showered with his dishes – wonder if he still does? How about you Bruce? After living with you for a year, I know you drank in the shower – ha!

The weekend before last, we welcomed Ken Harvey a Fargo classmate into the FSHC Class 62 FB Group. I started writing “sly like a fox” and listening to Illich’s clip on William Harvey’s blood circulation discovery and then Hurricane Harvey sinks Houston. Then a new born emerges from his sack of water and is named Harvey. Four Harvey’s in a week – hum… . Ken, is there a song here?

One more weekend experience. In surfing TV channels, I re-watched the end of “Back to the Future” where Doc drops Marty back at home and then sets his time dial to visit the future 30 years out. Marty wakes the next morning to find his family’s life has significantly changed –economically and socially better off. Doc and Marty’s effort not to influence the future had failed. Then Doc suddenly returns with knowledge from the future – Marty and his girlfriend have to see something that is not right with their children. Doc then says he needs more fuel for the DeLorean, opens the fuel chamber, reaches into a near-by trash-can, throws in a banana peel, empties a can of Bruce’s Miller beer, throws the can in, closes the lid and takes off – “technology and the Soul” Wolfgang Giegerich; “Technology with Soul” – Bernard Amadei. Past and future circulations to continue …

 

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A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard

One year ago, 2003, 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, SA, 2004, Ten Commandments or a new universal spirituality in our Civic Center courtyard? High Plains Reader, October 14, Vol.11, Iss.6. p.3.]

City of Fargo down for the count-of-ten

I anticipated a line of spectators for the March 11th 2005 Fargo Ten Commandments hearing but only a small camera crew was at the Courthouse entrance and the courtroom was only three-quarters full. Third-year law student Tiffany Johnson presented the plaintiffs’ case and argued that the monument violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional for the city to have accepted and to maintain the Monument. Defense assistant Fargo City Attorney Patty Roscoe argued that “secular” and “context” aspects of the monument matter, illustrating the secular by pointing to America’s legal heritage and that donation of the monument to commemorate Fargo’s 1950s urban renewal. How is Judge Erickson seeing this case?

Throughout the hearing Erickson made comments and asked questions. As the judge professed, for this case he was playing the role of educator for the benefit 4th grade and university law students present. This certainly was helpful for court pundits analyzing the judge’s thinking and setting odds on how he will rule. Just as the attorneys and judge speculated on the meaning of what several Supreme Court Justices said or did not say in hearing their Ten Commandments case, we can speculate on how Erickson might rule based on his comments and questions.

Erickson stated the reason he allowed this case to come forward is its unique circumstances. One uniqueness is that the monument had been donated to the city to commemorate its 1950s urban renewal project, clearly stated on the monument. The judge saw this as supporting the city’s secular argument. However, Johnson made an important point – the monument contains two stars of David, the $1 bill “all-seeing eye”, an eagle grasping an American flag, and the Greek letters Chi and Rho, which are symbols representing Jesus Christ. The judge, however, did not buy Johnson’s argument that “eagle grasping an American flag” on the monument when seen by a passing U.S. shoulder holding the Muslim faith would be seen as an affront to his service.

Erickson responded with concern to Johnson’s photo of the Monument 20-feet off the ground showing that the only direct sidewalk between three public buildings intersect in a circle sidewalk surrounding the Monument. Erickson asked, “Why can’t the City move the sidewalks?” The judge clearly feels the sidewalk layout between these public buildings is making an inappropriate statement about the centrality of this religious monument. While the judge seemed to discounts the argument that it is a burden to have to avert one’s eyes when passing such a monument, he was not impressed that the city has not provided an alternate sidewalk between these buildings. The layout of the Civic Center Courtyard sidewalks should have been and needs changing Erickson is thinking.

Erickson asked Johnson, what her clients thought of the idea of placing other monuments in the Civic Center Courtyard. “I do not know – they are only concerned about the present situation,” she replied. The judge asked Roscoe, “Have other groups offered to donate similar monuments to the city.” “Not to the best of my knowledge”, Roscoe responded. Roscoe informed the court the City Commission (July 8, 2002) voted not to move the Monument and that City Commissioner Rob Lynch’s no vote was because the City’s new urban renewal plans envisioned extending 2nd Avenue North through the Courtyard and would thus necessitate moving of the Monument. Erickson quickly asked, “Does the city have any current plans regarding this?” “None to my knowledge”, Roscoe replied.
Erickson’s comments accepted and discounted points on both sides and reveal he was probing for accommodation. At the center of his concern seems to be, “how can the Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument remain?” The judge has to be thinking that the City Commission has not strategically anticipated this case and properly defused the plaintiffs’ case with plans to address the sidewalk and to place other religions monuments in the courtyard. Such efforts in other communities have met with success in retaining Ten Commandments monuments.

A more important lapse, the judge must be thinking, has occurred within Fargo’s religions
communities. They have failed to seize the opportunity to donate like monuments representing their beliefs. Where are Fargo’s Muslim’s Koran, Hindu’s Bhagavad-Gita, Tibetan’s Book of the Dead, the Native American’s Lakota Wisdom, Unitarian’s Seven Principles, free-thinkers’ Humanist Manifesto III, Chinese Dao de Ching, atheist’s manifesto, and really where is the Christians’ Sermon on the Mount monument?

Erickson’s comments and questions reveal that he would favorably have viewed Fargo Community support and a current City Commission plan to reconstitute the Civic Center Courtyard as justification for keeping the Ten Commandants Monument. Pundits calling the pending Supreme Court decision are predicting its decision will require the Ten Commandments monument be removed from inside courthouses but will allow it to remain in courtyards providing they include other secular and religious monuments. It seems Erickson’s summary decision will be for the plaintiffs – a sad outcome for all belief systems and a setback for Fargo making a statement on “universal spirituality”. However, I hear there is a side bet at even odds that Erickson will rule in favor of the City, providing the sidewalk is changed and other monuments added. [Scherling, SA, 2005, Ten Commandments Update. High Plains Reader, Vol.11, Iss.31, April 21:7.]

Does a Ten Commandments monument belong on public land?


Today, 7/18/17, Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument crying. She is lonely!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sources

Supreme Court Asked to Hear Case of Ten Commandments Monument at NM City Hall

 

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Individuation of Ethics – Justice

Dream: I am watching myself from 1st base on the mound pitching a baseball game. I have lost previous games but now have discovered within myself a source of energy, a way that now gives me confidence that I am pitching a winning game. I just have to look deep within to sum-up the energy for the winning pitch.

Association: Recently, I read the “ND hero story”, a story about Herman Stern and then re-reading Murray Stein’s essay The ethics of individuation and the individuation of ethics I read this, seeing it is a description of Herman Stern: “There is a Jewish myth of thirty-six just men (Lamed-Tov) who are ‘the hearts of the world multiplied’ and who keep the World afloat because of their very existence. They often do not know who they are and are quite unaware that they are sustaining the human enterprise with their mostly invisible and internal efforts.” Remembering  that I had previously posted on this topic, I found that on April 29, 2013 I had posted this on Jung’s concept of IndividuationEthics of Individuation & Individuation of Ethics (DAMBlog). I now realize that I am being pulled back into this Blog entry after reading the “ND hero Story” to reflect anew on what still needs discovering, what is still unfolding. So, there is some overlap here.

I was surprised and enjoyed watching Herb Jonas (FCHS ‘62) talking about his ancestors being helped by Herman and saying “if not for his help, I would not be here.” Another classmate, Art H. said, “Seeing Herb Jonas is certainly a blast from the past. I lived at Earl’s house for several months (until Earl’s untimely death) and got to know Herb’s mother Hilda quite well. They were [a]cross the alley neighbors. I learned a lot about their escape but not this part. Quite impressed.” My response was “Art, interesting reading about Herman’s life experience….. After reading this web entry on a photograph of Herman, I wondered if he and my photographer grandfather, Arvid Scherling, had met. My family lived two houses south of the Edward Stern family on south 10th street and I had 4th grade crush on oldest daughter Decie. With only a few yards separating these grandfathers when both were visiting, I am going to guess they met – now to imagine what they might have discussed.

Adam Smith is called the father of modern economics had acquired this title with his 1776 publication of The Wealth of Nations. Smith’s 1759 publication The Theory of Moral Sentiments is regarded as his magnum opus but is considered a modifying companion to his Wealth of Nations. In Moral Sentiments (Wikipedia), Smith critically examines the moral thinking of his time, and suggests that conscience arises from social relationships. His goal in writing the work was to explain the source of mankind’s ability to form moral judgements, in spite of man’s natural inclinations towards self-interest. Smith proposes a theory of sympathy, in which the act of observing others makes people aware of themselves and the morality of their own behavior.

Taylor (2011) discusses Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments in the Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part 2: Adam Smith, and in summary we learn:

… that in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith advocates for a form of moral sentimentalism. We naturally link sympathy to either approval or disapproval of an action or reaction. For instance, if an individual insults another person, we attach sympathy to the reaction of the person who was insulted. If the person insulted under-reacts or overreacts, we will disapprove the response morally. If the reaction seems right, we will approve of the response morally. We will also sympathize with parties who are not sharing a similar sentiment. For instance, if a person loses their mental capacity or passes way, we will sympathize with that person even though they themselves are not feeling the same sentiment. Lastly, using Smith’s moral sentimentalism, we can judge our own actions. We can do this by looking at our own actions from a third person point of view” (Wikipedia)

An advancement on Smith’s Wealth & Moral Sentiments occurs with John Nash’s intuitive insight in this Beautiful Mind Bar Scene, which has Nash suggesting that Smith needs revision. Smith’s Wealth of Nations principle ruling the dominant institution of our time, the corporation, is that “In competition, individual ambition serves the common good” and “the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what is best for himself.” Nash’s insight suggests that a revision is needed, “The best result will come from everyone doing what is best for himself and for his group.” The governing dynamic “in game theory, known as the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing strategies while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium. Stated simply, Amy and Wili are in Nash equilibrium if Amy is making the best decision she can, taking into account Wili’s decision, and Wili is making the best decision he can, taking into account Amy’s decision. Likewise, a group of players are in Nash equilibrium if each one is making the best decision that he or she can, taking into account the decisions of the others.” We must make note that Nash’s game theory was the logic behind the US and USSR Cold War face off.

However, what occurs with Nash’s realization that Smith’s theory needs revision, is an individuation of ethics – Justice advancing.

Governing Dynamic


Okay, reading and watching this scene sets the stage to imagine a dialogue between Herman and Arvid. Both Smith’s and Nash’s views look outward for reference. So, let us develop another view on “The best results come from everyone doing what is best for himself and for this groups.” This view is inward and presented by Murray Stein (2007) in his essay The ethics individualization and the individualization of ethics. Stein begins his essay with the favorite rainmaker story Jung was fond of telling, which was told to him by Richard Wilhelm translator of  the Chinese Secret of the golden flower and  The I Ching at a Psychological Club of Zurich lecture in the 1920’s. Wilhelm actually witnessed this event when he was living in Qingdao, China.

   There was a long dry spell in the region. The land in the countryside was utterly parched, and the crops were failing. As a consequence, many people were facing the prospect of starvation. Desperate, they tried to produce rainfall by performing all the religious rites they knew: the “Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.
Finally the Chinese said, “We will fetch the rain-maker.” So they sent a message to another part of the country asking for the assistance of a well known rain-maker. Eventually a “dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.”
When asked, the old man replied: “I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be in the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered coun­try. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came” (Douglas, 1997: 333) cited in (Stein, 2007: 65).

The idea behind Wilhelm’s story is that an individuating person has “the capacity to affect society and the cosmos (for good or ill) because the individual, society, and the cosmos are intimately connected parts of a single reality.” Thus doing what is best for oneself is to walk the way of individuation, which eventually naturally flows into the collective. Erich Neumann’s 1945 book Depth psychology and a new ethic develops this new ethics, which is addressed in the Blog Deep Jesus, Us?. The new depth ethic is to walk the way of individuation – this is a transformational leader’s way, which I imagine both Herman and Arvid understood and, I suspect was part of their discussion, maybe on President Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership. Eventually we will address this leadership style.

Alan Watts Tribute to Carl Jung captures the essence of Jung’s individuation process and as I am now re-listening to it, I imagine around my table Herman and Arvid are looking over my shoulder participating in what is unfolding – I am listening Pops! Yes, at the center of this tribute, Watts re-visits the Nazi Holocaust and describes Jung’s personal experience and individuation, which I sense is in the lives of Herman and Arvid. This clip points us in the direction of the individuation of ethics – Justice, let me continue with an amplification.

Alan Watts -Tribute to Carl Jung


Amplification
:  I have been reading and re-reading Robert Romanyshyn’s book The Wounded Researcher – Research with Soul in Mind (WR) for many years now. Each time it is read, I read it with the experiential learning model (CE – RO – AC – AE) that has accompanied me in my teaching career. This circular model begins with a concrete experience (ce) following into reflective observation (ro),  which takes place with abstract conceptualizations (working theories in mind) (ac), all brought together in an active experimentation (ae) writing about one’s unfolding experiences. One continues this experiential learning process by again generating new but related experiences and in this case re-reading WR and carrying this effort forward into a new writing experiment to comprehend and implement the idea of conducting research with “Soul” in mind. The central idea in conducting research with soul in mind is to include my wounded researcher’s complex psyche soul in the research project.

As we examine past Blog entries, we see that most are working to apply this model of experiential learning working with the WR method. For example, in blog entry Cyclops Trump Amor Fati, the last section of WR’s last Chapter 13, Towards an ethical epistemology, is titled Amor Fati, which is a one-page ending encapsulating Romanyshyn’s 386 page opus magnum.  Also consider the dream amplification in the Blog post, A Dream, Association, Amplification, as an effort to apply the unfolding processes presented in the WR. Both of these examples are efforts to understand and accept the Scherling Project as amor fati. And now I see in the Stern Project the uncovering of Herman’s acceptance of his amor fati. Herman and Arvid both lived their lives accepting and living their amor fati. My effort here is to bring my latest reading of the WR to bear on the individuation of ethics – Justice, which we might call the individuating World – an individuation that these two GrandPops participated in!

Murray’s essay The ethics of individuation and the individuation of ethics is a deep dive into what has always been challenging the World – Justice. We can read his essay linked here in full and you may want to in order to feel the rawness of what we are being challenged to understand. However, I will attempt to capture the essay’s central points and expand it with a few examples unfolding around us.

The point Stein addresses in the first half of his essay, the ethics of individuation, is to understand the “ethics” of an individual with intense focus on his or her personal individuation.  When a personal individuation focus is undertaken, it requires a person to pull back from collective involvement in order to undertake the intense individual efforts required. However, this self-imposed isolation eventually has to be balanced when he or she reaches the point of integration and needs, is required, to give back to the community. Stein writes that, “The severe ethics of individuation rises above the moral codex of the community, past adherence to the vox Dei, and beyond all other forms of identification with collective voices, politics, rules, images, or religious convictions, and reflectively ponders the situation under the protection and auspices of the archetypal and uncontaminated image of Dao (the Self)”.

The rainmaker when experiencing the drought, needed to retreat to his hut outside the village for 4 days in-order bring himself back into Dao, before re-emerging into the community, giving back, and then it naturally rains, even snows lifting the drought. Stein writes that, “This introduces the second great movement of individuation: The integration of (not identification with) a transcendent archetypal image following upon separation from all prior distorting and inflating identities and identifications. It is by this means that the rainmaker brings himself into order and harmony with Dao. He separates (goes into a hut at the edge of the village), and there he connects inwardly to the archetype of unity and order (Dao), not however by identifying himself with it and getting inflated with its numinous power. He brings himself into alignment with the Dao.”

Before citing further examples of the individuation of ethics, Stein concludes this section by setting a challenge to communities of collective consciousness needed to engage in complex ethical reflections. Stein writes, “In this double movement of individuation – separation and integration – one can discover also a potential for the further individuation of ethics itself. By individuation of ethics, I mean the further incarnation of the archetypal idea of Justice, a transcendent moral order. Since this requires the extension and elaboration of ethical reflection in territories and fields where it has not been considered before, especially with regard to individual situations and differences as well as to novel cultural movements, experience teaches that this work is best done within communities and by people skilled in this kind of reflection. The elaboration of ethics is a fully conscious undertaking, although its initial impetus and deepest grounding are usually unconscious and archetypal. Practically speaking, it is well nigh impossible for the involved individual to attain the necessary objectivity required for this type of complex ethical reflection. The moral archetype (Justice), raised to consciousness in community by individuals and brought into reflection by many people upon unique and new situations, can thereby reach further incarnation in new and specific areas of experience and application. This becomes a matter of urgent importance when individual and cultural/social developments critically outstrip collective consciousness and bring into view spheres of human activity where ethical considerations and viewpoints have not been elaborated yet.”

I suspect we are living in the end times when developments are critically outstripping collective consciousness and there is an urgent need for “an extension and elaboration of ethical reflection.” Zizek gives us a peak into how the complex ethical reflection is unfolding in these times and I for one would like Slavoj on the team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw8LPn4irao&t=94s&ytbChannel=vpro%20extra

After watching the above clip our thoughts and feelings on Justice really spread out!

We  have already looked at John Nash A Beautiful Mind movie’s bar scene as an experience, a Nash intuition of the individuation of ethics – the individuation of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” to a more Just position of “doing what is good for one’s self and for one’s group.” It is worth noting that Smith identifies the “wealth of a Nation” to be its workers – the labor class. Do our Republican, Democratic, Independent Parties, and all those now living below, at, or even well above the poverty-line know this? No, I doubt it. We ought no longer watch, idolize, the endless Hollywood Parade of conspicuous consumers of stuff as children starve and are gassed.

Stein’s illustrates the individuation of ethics with an example from the early years of psychoanalysis first pioneered by Sigmund Freud and then Carl Jung at the turn of the 20th Century. It took several decades to sort out the ethical codes addressing the transference and countertransference occurring between the analysand and the analyst. In this first scene from the movie A Dangerous Method we see Jung’s patient Sabina Spielrein saying to Jung that he can take the initiative to engage in a sexual affair, which he does leading to the ‘famous spanking scene’ now removed from Youtube.

Take the Initiative

Wikipedia has this entry on the transference and countertransference processes:

In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a patient’s feelings for a significant person to the therapist. Transference is often manifested as an erotic attraction towards a therapist, but can be seen in many other forms such as rage, hatred, mistrust, parentification, extreme dependence, or even placing the therapist in a god-like or guru status. When Freud initially encountered transference in his therapy with patients, he thought he was encountering patient resistance, as he recognized the phenomenon when a patient refused to participate in a session of free association. But what he learned was that the analysis of the transference was actually the work that needed to be done: “the transference, which, whether affectionate or hostile, seemed in every case to constitute the greatest threat to the treatment, becomes its best tool”.[9] The focus in psychodynamic psychotherapy is, in large part, the therapist and patient recognizing the transference relationship and exploring the relationship’s meaning. Since the transference between patient and therapist happens on an unconscious level, psychodynamic therapists who are largely concerned with a patient’s unconscious material use the transference to reveal unresolved conflicts patients have with childhood figures.

Countertransference is defined as redirection of a therapist’s feelings toward a patient, or more generally, as a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a patient. A therapist’s attunement to their own countertransference is nearly as critical as understanding the transference. Not only does this help therapists regulate their emotions in the therapeutic relationship, but it also gives therapists valuable insight into what patients are attempting to elicit in them. For example, a therapist who is sexually attracted to a patient must understand the countertransference aspect (if any) of the attraction, and look at how the patient might be eliciting this attraction. Once any countertransference aspect has been identified, the therapist can ask the patient what his or her feelings are toward the therapist, and can explore how those feelings relate to unconscious motivations, desires, or fears.

Discussion on this relationship were revealed in numerous letters between Jung, Sabian, Freud, Jung’s wife and Sabian’s mother, finally ending in Jung realizing the mistake being made and the individuation of a new ethical responsibility between analysand and analyst began to evolve. Stein describes this evolution taking “several decades until ethics caught up and elaborated detailed codes of conduct for therapists that took into the account the nuances and subtleties of transference and countertransference.” In just the past decade, the issues of feminism, homosexuality, medical advances, termination of life, genetic engineering, health-care as a right, livable income for all are pressing for further individuation of ethics.  Here Jung realizes that his ethical behavior needed to evolve:

A Dangerous Method – ‘Mistake’

We are examining the individuation of religion from polytheism, to monotheism, to atheism and within monotheism between Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism.  Žižek in Atheism and Christianity examines the ethical difference between Judaism and Christianity and proposes, “The only way really to be an atheist is through Christianity. Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism, which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless it retains a certain trust in The Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution, or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within the harmonious whole of evolution, whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is again that there is No Big Other, no point of reference which guarantees meaning.”

Another example of the individuation of ethics, is the change occurring in the movement from polytheism, to monotheism, to atheism. And even within monotheism between Judaism and Christianity. In the Old Testament there exists a literal place, the Tabernacle, the Wailing Wall, where followers gathered to worship God. In the New Testament this evolves so that wherever two or more are gathered in Christ name there Am I, the Holy Spirit, with you. Zizek outlines the difference between Judaism and Christianity as that between anxiety and love – with the crucifixion of Christ there is no longer “A Big Other,” there will be no return of  The Christ. We only have each other – doing what is best for yourself and others. This is the challenge – how do we do this? Jung’s Answer to Job addresses this individuation of ethics clearly. The Wikipedia entry indicates that Jung considers the Book of Job to be

…. a landmark development in the “divine drama”, for the first time contemplating criticism of God (Gotteskritik). Jung described Answer to Job as “pure poison”, referring to the controversial nature of the book (Storr, 1973). He did, however, feel an urge to write the book. The basic thesis of the book is that as well as having a good side, God also has a fourth side – the evil face of God. This view is inevitably controversial, but Jung claimed it is backed up by references to the Hebrew Bible. Jung saw this evil side of God as the missing fourth element of the Trinity, which he believed should be supplanted by a Quaternity. However, he also discusses in the book whether the true missing fourth element is the feminine side of God. Indeed, he saw the dogmatic definition of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Pope Pius XII in 1950 as being the most significant religious event since the Reformation. Another theme in the book is the inversion of the myth that God sent his son Christ to die for the sins of humanity. Jung maintains that upon realizing his mistreatment of Job, God sends his son to humankind to be sacrificed in repentance for God’s sins. Jung sees this as a sign of God’s ongoing psychological development.

I am listening to you, Arvid, sitting around my table reminding us in your book, The dogma of a sinful constitution, you write to us about the ethics in the dogma of original sin.

Žižek on Atheism and Christianity

Recently posted at my Facebook was this essay on How nationalism and Socialism Arose from the French Revolution by Dan Sanchez. (https://fee.org/articles/how-nationalism-and-socialism-arose-from-the-french-revolution/). When I read what Steven W. had written, “that no matter what our political difference are, this needs reading,” I immediately read it, knowing something should come of our differences aired several months back. My answer to the statement, “that we are not free and want to believe in a free society” is yes. Sanchez’s historical essay is well written but I am disappointed in the details of his suggested solution that: “A non-state-centered revolution in minds and morals is what we need to truly shake the world and to finally shake off the chains of oppression, war, and poverty that bind us.” Sounds like we need someone who “walks on water”, know anyone doing this today. We need specifics! How to Dance…

Okay, I know we have watched “Zizek On Atheism and Christianity” with this message “whenever two or more are assembled there I Am”, the Holy Spirit. So, here WE are, what to discuss? Zizek continues his thesis making sure we understand “God Is Dead” and we best get on putting an end to all killing in His Names – just realizing this about religion should help! However, the big issue and maybe Sanchez addresses in another essay is “what is at the center of nationalism’s warring mentality?” I just finished watching “The Great War” PBS documentary on WWI, which puts film to Sanchez’s essay illustrating the “psychic frenzy” in the US in the World, the economic benefits of full-employment – the rise of the military-industrial-media complex, the rise of the creed for money. Then at the end of, Charlie Rose’s Zizek interview, Zizek identifies “private property,” as it exits in “The Corporation” as the root of our insanity. The Corporation is something real, concrete, that needs discussing – it is at the center of Sanchez’s “non-state-centered revolution in minds and morals.” It is the State that incorporates The Corporation!

I will end this blog entry noting that Wolfgang Giegerich’s further individuation of ethics, presented in his essay “The end of meaning and the birth of man,” echoes Jung’s Project but does introduce a paradigm shift in approaching the individuation of Justice, The Soul’s Logical Life that we will attempt to addresses in a future blog entry.

Herman’s and Arvid’s Family Projects are important elements in their respective families and I  imagine they began discussing this on South 10th Street Fargo. What next is unfolding in the individuation of ethics – Justice? We are still listening – Pops!

The winning pitch in my dream – a fastball, high & inside! Why this pitch? If I am looking deep within I need to to sum-up as much energy as I can. An idea behind psyche energy, E = MC2, was first presented in my very first blog entry, The Mathematics of Faith, where Bill Moyers interview of Anouar Majid on America’s orthodoxy  – global corporate capitalism. Steven Arvid

 

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Why So Serious?

I had this early morning dream: I was able to take from my computer screen the program that was running a Looney Tune program and then use the program with others to act-out any Looney Tune cartoon. It seems the dream image was of The Joker since an exclamation/question-mark was displayed. (04.05.2017 3:15)

“Why so serious?” seems appropriate!

Yesterday, I watched a clip of President Trump delivering a speech to the “North America Building Trades Unions,” where he was naming the individual trades, welders, roofers, sheet metal-workers, etc. – those needed to “re-build” America’s infrastructure. The cheers after each skill was named were not robust and at one time there were boos. I went to bed reading the new Time Magazine issue (4.19.2017) essay “What it will take to rebuild America

This morning on my Facebook feed was this clip on Does Donald Trump Know How to Read?


And then appears Trump Fails Basic Literacy Test. David Pakman reads non-verbal behavior well!


I then remembered Steve Allen’s excellent show Meeting of Minds, expecting to help Donald with his reading, literacy, and thinking challenges. Here we have in two parts Aristotle, Machiavelli, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Sun Yat-Sen in a dialectic-analytical-dialogue that should help prepare President Trump for his up-coming meeting with President Xi Jinping.

This is “Why so serious”! What possible impact could this Blog entry have on the upcoming meeting between Trump and Xi? None, I think. (04.05.2017 15:00)

Meeting Of Minds with Steve Allen, Season 03 Episode 03 [Part 1]

Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds Volume 2 (1979) [Part 2]

This ‘meeting of minds’ is consuming, they were watched back-to-back with two broad observations. Browning brought ‘feeling’ to the meeting that could be set along side Aristotle’s ‘thinking’ personality – these can be seen as the work of C.G. Jung’s Personality Types.  The Sun and Machiavelli dialogue is like watching the difference between Clinton and Trump’s Presidential leadership style. We are now all waiting to see how ‘Machiavellian’ Trump will be. Getting to ‘know’ a little about these persons was really quite an experience!

(04.05.2017 18:00)
Post Script: At 15:00 when this was published, I joked with myself thinking there was no way this message from Fargo could be communicated to Mr. Trump. I then went to work in the yard and at 18:00 began watching the evening news. A major re-alignment in Trump’s administration had taken place – Bannon had been removed from NSC. I immediately thought what had taken place was the occurrence of a synchronicity – thinking, writing, and publishing this essay linked to Trump. This is a Chinese way thinking and we will be tending closely to what is unfolding between Xi and Trump.

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Solaris

This morning we are being asked this question: What’s Missing From This Photo of Politicians Deciding the Future of Women’s Health?

This Mother Jones post says,  “Donald Trump met with the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus at the White House Thursday to try to hammer out a deal on Obamacare repeal. A major question in the final negotiations? Whether or not maternity care and mammograms should be considered “essential” treatments covered by all health insurance policies under the Republican proposal. (“I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms,” quipped Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who supports scrapping the requirement. He apologized.) The White House happily snapped a photo of the gathering that will go a long way toward deciding the future of women’s health in America, and EMIILY’s List, the group that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women to Congress, also blasted out a photo of the event to reporters. Notice anything?”

I penned this response to my classmate, Carolyn, who posted this news and photo.

This is a serious oversight and my causal joke about Trump’s past behavior with women was a shallow comment before diving ‘deep’. In my Blog post, ‘Blue, Red, a Third Pill?’, there is a start to go ‘deep’ and this is what I wrote: “In one Zizek clip we see just a 2-second clip from the Solaris movie. Below is the Zizek – Solaris clip that deconstructs the movie. The logic and implications for the loss of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid is startling and will be fully explored later. For now, let us get it from the unconscious into consciousness.”

Seems, I am not to wait to get the Zizek – Solaris clip deconstruction transcribed. We have Neo awaking from being a ‘human battery’ supplying libido-energy to the Matrix Machine creating ‘virtual-reality’. Zizek asks, ‘why does the Matrix need our energy?’ Zizek turns this question around and asks ‘why does the energy need the Matrix? The energy under consideration is our libido-energy – our pleasure. Zizek asks, “Why does our libido need the virtual universe of fantasies? Why can’t we simple enjoy IT directly?” That is making love. Zizek, suggests that our libido needs an illusion to sustain itself and here he deconstructs the Solaris movie, which begins by considering the Freudian Id Machine – deep in us.

Calvin, a psychologist, is sent to the planet Solaris’s space station to address strange problems of the inhabitants going crazy. The planet Solaris has the “magic ability to actualize your deepest traumas, dreams, fears, desires – the innermost of your inner-space.”

One morning Calvin’s deceased wife appears and they make love, which arises in him not so much his desire but his guilt-feelings toward his wife. He then realizes he has to get ride of her. The key in Zizek’s analysis is the subjective position of the wife, who knows she has no consistency of her own. She has gaps in her memory because she only knows what he knows of her. She is just his dream realized and her true love for him is a desperate attempt to erase herself from him – to clear this space because she guesses he wants this. However, getting rid of a ghost, a spectral presence, is no easy task – it sticks to you like a shadowy presence. For now, I will leave this topic to a future entry.

Zizek says what we get here is the “lowest of male mythology – the idea that woman does not exist on her own, a woman is nothing more than a man’s dream realized.” Women exist because male desire got impure. If men cleanse their desire, get rid of Hustler Magazine fantasies, women cease to exist. The film ends with sort of a holy communion, a reconciliation, not with Calvin’s wife but with his father. Humm… Who knows – The Shadow Knows.

I propose this hypothesis, the photo image of all men addressing the America Health Care decision without a woman in the room is for sure Trump’s and maybe all these men’s “holy communions” with their fathers. So, we have a hypothesis, what is our research methodology? I am imaging a movie with all these men’s Shadows as characters – it is “a horror movie that is not a horror movie”.

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Red, Blue, or Third Pill?

The family left for an 8-month stay at our family home in Taiwan in the Spring of 2005. Being home-alone, it seems the next day, I rented The Matrix movies, popped a big batch of popcorn, and watched them non-stop. There have been many reviews, documentaries, and rips on the movies and recently it occurred to me that the Movies were  speaking to us as the U.S. House of Representatives is voting this afternoon to repeal & replace The Obama Health Care Act. In this first scene, Neo meets Orpheus for the first time and is offered a choice between a blue or a red pill – “you take the blue pill the stories ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe, you take the red pill and stay in Wonderland and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…. Remember all I am offering is the truth – nothing more.” [thunder claps]. How is today’s House vote a choice between a Republican or a Democrat Pill?

Similarities can be extended as we come to see our current predicament like that of being trapped in the Matrix of the American led Global System and trying to get to the “Truth”. The computer Construct  Program loads in and produces the realities that Orpheus’s team needs to fight the Matrix.  Neo is shown that he has been living in a “dream world” created by the Matrix, when in fact he is living in the “desert of the real” – the World destroyed by war. Neo is confronted by the “truth” that the Matrix is designed to turn human energy into a Delco D battery. It is not a big jump to suggest Communism = Capitalism both have the same objective. When Neo accepts this job, the first thing he requests are guns, lots of guns – and the NRA is Johnny-on-the-spot.

Slavoj Zizek, however, is not satisfied with the choice given to Neo, he wants a Third Pill. What is Zizek’s Third Pill? He tells us:

The choice between the blue and the red pill is not really a choice between illusion and reality. Of course Matrix is a machine for fiction but these are fictions that already structure our reality. If you take away from our reality the symbolic fictions that regulate it, you lose reality itself.
I want a third pill and definitely it is not a transcendental pill which enables a fast-food religious experience but a pill that would enable me to perceive not the reality behind the illusion but the reality in illusion itself. If something gets too dramatic too violent and even too filled in with enjoyment it shatters the coordinates of our reality and we have to fictionalize it. In sexuality it is never me and my partner, or more partners whatever you are doing, there always has to be some fantasy element. There has to be some third imagined element, which enables me to engage in sexuality.
So why does The Matrix need our energy? I think the proper way to ask this question is to turn it around, not why does The Matrix need the energy?, but why does the energy need the Matrix? I think that the energy we are talking about is libido energy – our pleasure. Why does our libido need the virtual universe of fantasies? Why can’t we simple enjoy it directly? – a sexual partner and so on – that’s the fundamental question, why do we need this virtual supplement? Our libido needs an illusion in order to sustain itself.
Our fundamental delusion today is not to believe in what is only a fiction – today fiction is too seriously, it is on the contrary not to take fictions seriously enough. You think it is just a game, it is reality – it is more real than it appears to you. For example, people who play video games. They adopt a screen persona a sadist, rapist, whatever. The idea is that in reality I am a weak person so I can supplement my real life within this game by adopting a false image of a strong sexually promiscuous person. This would be the naive reading. I want to appear stronger in the game because in real life I am a weak person. But what if we read it in the opposite way? That this strong brutal rapist identity is my true self – this is the psychic truth of myself and that in real life because of social constraints and so on, I am not able to enact. So, because I only think it is a game, it is only a persona that I adopt in virtual space, I can be there much more truthfully. I can enact there an identify that is much closer to my true self.

In the above clip, we see just a 2-second clip from the Solaris movie. Here Zizek – Solaris deconstructs that movie. The logic and implications for the loss of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential effort is startling and will be fully explored later. For now, let us get it from the unconscious into consciousness. If you like, you can watch George Clooney in Solaris. We will unpack this but i am looking for you to begin… I have stated “Deconstructing American Deconstruction” essay and many of my past Trumpian posts add to this unfolding effort.

This last clip from Zizek addresses What is Ideology?, which is a clip from the documentary The pervert’s guide to Ideology. This clip shows the movie They Live, where John Nada is forcing his best friend to put on special glasses that allow one to see  ideology, the Martix, the American cultural/economic system we live in. “The material force of ideology makes us effectively not see what i am eating,… We are already eating from this trash can, its name is national global capitalism.

Finally, something we can fall asleep to, however,  The Philosophy and the Martix should produce a mental orgasm for you – it sure did for me!

Just finished the popcorn, time for a beer lunch at the Tailgate, and a nap before this afternoon’s U.S. House vote to see if we are truly Living in the end of times? sas

Notes:

The Matrix Generation Posted on

The Matrix – The art of philosophy

Idealism the philosphy of the matrix and the true nature of matter

We’re living in the Matrix

 

 

 

 

 

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