How to Fail at Almost Everything

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

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

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

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

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

By SAScherling

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General James Mattis Defending The United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Deeper Than A Few Bad Apples

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

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

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

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

 

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The Mathematical Challenge to Darwin and Wallace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My yard needs tending, I’ll be back…

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Thomas Sowell Secretary of Treasury

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

Thomas Sowell on Uncommon Knowledge

 

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Escape From Evil

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

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

Escape from Evil – Introduction – Ernest Becker

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

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High Anxieties – The Mathematics of Chaos

I recently posted “An Answer Lies In Crisis – What Covid-19 Pandemic Is Telling Us”, and then sensed the Maslowian Self-Actualization Need to continue my anxiety attacks by re-watching the BBC documentary High Anxieties – The Mathematics of Chaos, presented by David Malone. If Colin Wilson’s idea that ‘peak experiences’ are under the control of the person, can I test this by attempting to generate a peak experience by re-watching the mathematics of chaos. So, I re-watched it yet again and what I realized is this is a peak statement: “The problem with the mathematics of chaos is that it does not offer us a new plan to achieve what we want – prediction and control. It takes away what we want to believe, denies us the old icons of salvation and freedom through growth and gives us nothing comforting in return”. I then listened to Trump promise Americans the 4th Quarter will return to high growth and that 2021 will be a fantastic growth year. I then realized Trump is killing us, our families, and the World. Can we expect Trump will have a peak experience about this pandemic recovery, understanding what the mathematics of chaos is warning about? I am pessimistic.

This BBC Documentary “looks at how developments in mathematics over the past 40 years have completely changed our understanding of the fundamental nature of the world we live in. As we approach tipping points in both the economy and the climate, the film examines the mathematics we have been reluctant to face up to and asks if, even now, we would rather bury our heads in the sand rather than face harsh truths.”

Leading up to re-watching this documentary has been the synchronistic event of thinking about the classical economist Thomas Malthus’ 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population where he observedthat an increase in a nation’s food production improved the well-being of the populace, but the improvement was temporary because it led to population growth, which in turn restored the original per capita production level. In other words, humans had a propensity to utilize abundance for population growth rather than for maintaining a high standard of living, a view that has become known as the “Malthusian trap” or the “Malthusian spectre”.

Thomas Malthus and population growth Cosmology & Astronomy is an active animation explaining Malthus’s theory.

The ‘Malthusian catastrophe’ had been in part averted by the ‘agricultural green revolution’ setting aside some of the high anxieties in the mathematics of chaos that Malone addresses. However, wars, famine, and pandemics have been needed to check population growth and when our man-made ‘killing fields’ have not been sufficient to ‘balance’ the Malthusian equations, nature enters tipping the balance point. Malone states that economists still insist on ‘pushing through’ with economic developments, while environmentalists hold that “unwieldy economic growth will push the World’s natural systems (emphasis added) to their own chaos and collapse, from which there will be no coming back.”

I suggest that Corvid-19 is an aspect of the natural system now pushing back. The drop in World fertility rates and wars have not been killing enough humans to keep the World in balance and so, Covid-19 is taking-up the task of balancing the mathematical equations underpinning existence. However, as Dr. Meyers suggests in Does Science Point To God?, we are just now beginning to explore the idea of intelligent design”; and might we now have scientific support for an ‘intelligence‘ behind Covid-19 that we do not yet understand. If Man continues fouling his nest, nature will act, and here is Covid-19 knocking on our door, no IT is in our homes killing. How did this happen? Who is pushing for an economic response? No other than Trump, the most inept President the U.S. has ever had.

Stephen Meyer philosopher of science and intelligent design authored Darwin’s Doubt, which presents scientific evidence of the existence of God, based on his studies in physics, cosmology, and biology.

An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus 1798

 

 

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An Answer Lies In Crisis – What Covid-19 Pandemic Is Telling Us

Fannie and I arrived in Taiwan on January 15 returning to her home for the Chinese New Year Celebration. The airport was abuzz with people returning to their ancestral homes for this important holiday. We were met by my wife’s younger brother, who drove us from the airport to his Taipei home on a very busy freeway where we settled in for the start of our 3-week stay. We dinned out that first weekend in several fine restaurants not seeing any masks worn. Four days later we drove to Hsinchu 50  miles to the southwest to stay with Fannie’s older sister and family. We went to dinner in a new high-rise shopping center packed for the holiday, some were beginning to wear masks, as was our family.  When we returned for our departing dinner, the shopping center was full again but most now were wearing masks.

We were worried about our flight back to the U.S. Would we be allowed to fly to Tokyo? Would Los Angeles allow us to fly from Japan? If we got on the flight to LA and it took off, our worries of getting back home were for the most part over. Every passenger wore masks to Tokyo and to LA, maybe half to Dallas, and only us to Fargo. We brought home several boxes of masks as we watched the Covid-19 spread around the globe. The location and number of cases placed on a world map reminded us of a child with measles. This is a  ‘global pandemic’ and the World is now in survival mode. Taiwan was prepared, quickly responded, and avoided the big crisis now infecting the US and many other countries – our family is safe for now…

Colin Wilson suggests that we can remember everything that has ever happened to us. However, since our survival depends on focusing attention on the Bengal Tiger at the edge of the forest ready to pounce on us, our minds have had to specialize in order to avoid being eaten. However, today I am in our warm home, surrounded by a 6-foot wooden fence, with headphones on listening to Random Access Memories while making an effort to accessing my memories. I am mindful of the global crisis and the game-changing meaning Wilson attaches to this event. This is interesting: the World is in the midst of a ‘crisis’ which will allow a test of Wilson’s thesis that “crises drive expanding consciousness”. An issue for us, how to measure the increase in consciousness or what Maslow calls ‘peak-experience’ occurring in ‘self-actualization’ as a result of this pandemic crisis. Of course, the world and we need to survive to test this hypothesis. In these blog entries, an attempt to experience the Covid-19 crisis is presented, followed by several other videos presenting ideas addressing aspects of consciousness, which as we view them, we need to reflect on how the Corvid-19 crisis is increasing consciousness. We begin with Wilson’s proposal that an answer lies in crisis. Take notes in order to respond in the reply area at the end.

Colin Wilson on Freedom suggests that the answer lies in crisis

I was quite surprised when this Colin Wilson clip popped into view. Our Covid-19 crisis is the first really ‘global crisis’ allowing for this thesis to be tested. WWII was global but not global like Covid-19 is today – not threatening everyone, young-old, male-female, Chinese-American existence.

Coronavirus Pandemic | FRONTLINE Premiered Apr 21, 2020

Coronavirus: America’s Reckoning

How the coronavirus pandemic is changing the world | Fareed Zakaria Apr 13, 2020

The Green Man – Cheetham says we are unable to see Him

Tom Cheetham – Spiritual Imagination in the Work of Henry Corbin, CG Jung and James Hillman

Ibn’ Arabi – ‘Alone with the Alone’: Henry Corbin

One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Tehran. (Iran) Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His great work: “Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi “is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind.

Terence McKenna – The Third Eye Exists

Herbert Marcuse Interview about One Dimensional Man (1964) The last question that Marcuse is asked is, “What is the role of the academic scholar in addressing the one-dimensionality of man?” My ears perked up, as Herbert is talking to me – interesting, I have work to do!

Rick Roderick on Marcuse – One-Dimensional Man

Slavoj Žižek – What does it mean to be a revolutionary today? Marxism 2009

Zizek is at his best! At minute 23 he tells a joke about not just “dusting the balls” of capitalists like Trump but we should “cut their balls off” with this act’s only awareness being their voices rise an octave.

I have been watching these clips for some years now, letting them ‘seep’ into my unconscious. I have thought to pull from each performance an ‘essence’ but then that would be interfering with your experience in ‘sensing’ their importance to what is now unfolding in the World.  I sense The Philosophy of Sense8 suggests a way through our current crisis, however, understanding and implementing such a strategy is a challenge.

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

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis presented here is speaking to us – leave a reply below as to what you are earing.  Then it is time a movie with Brad Pitt, Contagion Covid Pandemic.

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Afghanistan’s Art of the Deal

Once a teacher always one, I sense is true. In wondering the other day how Mr. Barney my 1960 high school history teacher would be reaching us with today’s technology I came across a two-part YouTube special on ‘Afghanistan: The Great Game’. Then as the last week of February 2020 ended, President Trump announces he and the Taliban have made a ‘deal’. So, I imagined being back in Mr. Barney’s class being assigned to watch the ‘Afghanistan the Great Game’ documentary, follow current news about Trump’s Afghanistan Deal, and write an essay on what is happening. Every Friday we had a current events Weekly Reader, that I think Mr. Barney used to marry the past to the present. It is the way I teach my classes today – every week we read a chapter with videos and then by Saturday 6pm students submitted a 5-page paper, 1.5 spacing, using only that chapter, our discussion, and videos as references.  I read the papers Sunday/Monday and re-turned them heavily marked at Tuesday class as we started again with a new chapter. This is going to be an interesting week – online intime, it is called.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part I)
In this episode, Stewart tells the story of Soviet and United States involvement in Afghanistan. From 1928 until 1978 there had been relative peace and in the 1960s and ’70s was on the hippie trail but the cold war was at its height with Afghanistan surrounded by American allies Iran and Pakistan. In northern Afghanistan soviet aid was provided and in southern Afghanistan American aid. In Kabul Islamists and communists vied for supremacy and when the communists took control in 1978 they asked the SovietUnion for military assistance. Reluctantly they agreed after the Afghan president went to Moscow in 1979. 80,000 troops entered Afghanistan and the United States saw a chance for revenge against the Soviets who aided the communists in Vietnam. The CIA covertly through GeneralZia, President of Pakistan, provided modern weaponry. CharlieWilson and socialite JoanneHerring were prominent in the raising of 9 billion dollars covertly passed to Afghanistan. In 1988 the Soviets pulled out and the country descended into a vicious five-year civil war that the Taliban emerged victorious imposing strict Islamic law. Afghanistan became a safe haven for many terrorist groups after the Twin Towers were attacked in New York.

Afghanistan the Great Game (Part II) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6jItZF5ZeU
In this episode, Rory Stewart tells the story of British interventions in Afghanistan in the 19th century, when the British Empire became obsessed with the idea that their rival, Russia, was considering the invasion of Afghanistan as a staging post for an attack on British India. It was a period of mutual suspicion and paranoia that later became known as “The Great Game”. Afghanistan was perceived by Victorian Britain, as it’s believed to be today, to be an immediate threat to British national security. In this first film, Rory Stewart tells the story of the decision-making that led to the first British invasion of Afghanistan, and the three Anglo-Afghan wars fought in this era. And he tells the story of Afghanistan’s unlikely reaction to this period. When an Afghan-elite made a futile attempt to impose western-inspired ideas and modernity on the country.

Trump says Taliban wants deal in Afghanistan visit
President Donald Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, where he announced the U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in ongoing peace talks and said he believes the Taliban want a cease-fire. (Nov. 28)

Afghanistan: Fears political divide may thwart peace deal
A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, US and Afghan forces has brought hope of a lasting peace deal. But there is concern it could be delayed by political division following a controversial election. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid reports.

Taliban Country
Nearly 20 years after the U.S. drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, the group claims it holds more territory than any time since the war began in 2001. As President Trump says he wants to end the war, FRONTLINE reporter Najibullah Quraishi goes on a dangerous journey inside both Taliban- and ISIS-held territory and exposes the harsh reality that not only is the Taliban once again wielding power, but the threat from ISIS looms large.

Bitter Lake
Bitter Lake explores how the realpolitik of the West has converged on a mirror image of itself throughout the Middle-East over the past decades, and how the story of this has become so obfuscating and simplified that we, the public, have been left in a bewildered and confused state. The narrative traverses the United States, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia—but the country at the center of reflection is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted political figureheads across the West with the truth of their delusions—that they cannot understand what is going on any longer inside the systems they have built which do not account for the real world. Bitter Lake sets out to reveal the forces that over the past thirty years, rose up and commandeered those political systems into subservience, to which, as we see now, the highly destructive stories told by those in power, are inexorably bound to. The stories are not only half-truths, but they have monumental consequences in the real world. https://thoughtmaybe.com/bitter-lake/

US signs historic deal with Taliban • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban signed an agreement that begins the potential full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and could pave the way to ending America’s longest war.

US signing a historic deal with the Taliban | ABC News • Feb 29, 2020
America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end and could allow for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban, US sign peace deal • Feb 29, 2020
The US and the Taliban have signed a historic deal, aimed at paving the way for peace and the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The ceremony in Doha was attended by dignitaries including the US secretary of state and foreign ministers from Qatar and Pakistan.

Now the task is to complete Mr. Barney’s written assignment. I’ll be back!

 

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The re-valuing of everything

I recently discovered David Harvey’s podcasts. In this one David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Value of Everything (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32m7kcv08q8) he uses Mariana Mazzucato’s newest book The value of everything: Making and taking in the global economy as a backdrop.

Professor Mazzucato Youtube presentations are many and I picked this one The Value of Everything | Mariana Mazzucato Aug 22, 2018 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmRqT0-jB14) to watch. Mariana is an engaging speaker, presenting her argument forcefully and thoroughly. She is addressing “who are the makers and takers in our economy? If we want sustainable and fair economic growth, she argues, we need to question the stories we’ve been told about value creation. Mariana takes us on a tour of economic thinking on value, highlighting how it has changed fundamentally throughout history.

While the question of which activities create value – as opposed to moving, extracting, or even destroying it – used to be debated and contested, current thinking often states that ‘value is in the eye of the beholder.’ Mariana showcases some of the serious implications this thinking has for innovation, equality, and productivity. She argues that in order to steer our economy in the right direction, we need to re-open the debate around value creation, and start to see the public sector as an active player in shaping markets.” She wrote ‘The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths’ (Anthem 2013; Public Affairs, 2015) Times and is co-editor of Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (Wiley Blackwell, July 2016). Her new book ‘The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy’ is published by Penguin (Allen Lane, 2018).

Here is Mariana’s written contribution in Rethinking Capitalism – Chapter 1 Introduction pdf (https://www.books-express.ro/uploads/2016/07/rethinking-capitalism.pdf), which is a written essay which supports her audio presentation. In the presentation, she only mentions Karl Polanyi’s name in passing but his The Great Transformation (book) | Wikipedia audio article https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl5BDWITAo8 is at the center of her ideas.

If I were advising any of the Democratic candidates for President, I would suggest Mariana be on their team. Wow! However, the depth of thinking required would be daunting – indeed! It would be interesting to hear Republicans (Trump’s) proposal for ‘rethinking capitalism’ – can they even think this way? I talked to someone yesterday saying that he was interested in Bloomberg’s entry into the race and it was the same sentiment I also just had. Tonight is the first debate I will watch, have to see how they all perform.

Martin Wolf – The Great Transformation  Nov 11, 2019

Finally, Wolf suggests that the world is undergoing five fundamental transformations: “a changing global balance of power; a backlash against globalization; the rise of populism and authoritarianism; a technological transformation; and rising awareness of environmental limits. In his address, Wolf argues that these forces have created a series of interlinked economic and political crises, as shown in the election of Donald Trump, the China-US trade war, Brexit, the backlash against immigration and the weakening of global co-operation. Wolf discusses what role the EU can play in tackling these challenges, and how this transformation might end and predicts the EU will militarily rearm itself. He sees the conditions facing the World in 1935, with the US not willing to intervene in Europe, to be the same as today in Trump’s movement backward to ‘nationalization’, which is isolation.

 

 

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