A Lawyer, former JAG Officer, and 9th Degree Black Belt talks with SuperNerd Boy at the Waffle House (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 231)

I sat next to and spoke with a lawyer of 3-4 decades of vocational experience who had also served in the JAG Corps and holds a high level degree of martial arts expertise at the WH today. Our independent thoughts and observations were quite similar to one another. Most memorable takeaways from the conversation that we both passionately agree upon:

1) A “correction” is only a challenge to produce a learning and stabilizing opportunity in the “offender” ‘by said authority figure. It is not a trap or a tool to demean or further destabilize anyone. Corrections must occur in a stable environment to create the proper perspective and achieve efficacy. Punishments in unstable environments are only traps and they are completely opposite in intent to that of a correction.

2) Mistakes or failures must be allowed to occur by rigorously maintaining objective boundaries and structure within any given system of accomplishment. These mistakes and failures are only a “thermometer” (per my JAG friend) of learning and adjustment to help a person understand and determine what they must focus upon and master to achieve the accomplishment desired. A mistake or failure is only a mistake or a failure and nothing more. Such an outcome does not suggest permanence or inherent inability. It only indicates a failure to achieve a given goal or skill at a given time as a result of some, likely correctable, deficit (often focus or degree of application).

3) There are very few genuinely evil people in the world. The overwhelming majority of those who are unpleasant or creating strife or being abusive of others, do so as a result of being previously destabilized by environment forces or entities (negative nurturing) beyond their control at a given time of development. These people have had their new “normal perspective” pathologically reset by that previous trauma or melding to change them into an angry or paranoid or defensively selfish creature for the remainder of their life.

And it is completely possible that we and not those victims could have fallen into despair and suffering by those same forces in an alternate reality. In other words, our experiences are only due to random probability in a very high degree when when are children and in our most vulnerable developing stage.

4) We all gain invaluable perspective when we are forced to objectively experience the consequences, punishments, and treatments that we bestow upon others; the lawyer being locked up with other criminals in a cell and being forgotten about by the prison guards, the teacher becoming a pupil, and the doctor becoming the patient. Suffering the system is much different in unstable environments than implementing the system. Empathetic universal perspective allows the guardians of the system to maintain its stability for all.

5) Current day musicians do not produce music and lyrics to any significant degree that are as reflective and interwoven with the philosophies, mysticism, and ponderings of great minds and great literature as they once seemed to do. References and associations between music and literature such as the “Doors” and “Steppenwolfe” for example, have become much less common. This seems a product of our current culture of focus or lack thereof.

Waffle House Conversations

Cribb          2018

Orwell’s Ultimate Dilemma (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 223)

Gordon was not ashamed of his surroundings as he would once have been. there was a faint, amused malice in the way he spoke.

“You think I’m a bloody fool, of course,” he remarked to the ceiling.

“No I don’t. Why should I?”

“Yes, you do. You think I’m a bloody fool to stay in this filthy place instead of getting a proper job. You think I ought to try for that job at New Albion.”

“No, dash it! I never thought that. I see your point absolutely. I told you that before. I think you’re perfectly right in principle.”

“And you think principles are all right so long as one doesn’t go and put them into practice.”

“No. But the question always is, when is one putting them into practice?”

“It’s quite simple. I’ve made war on money. This is where it’s lead me.”

Ravelston rubbed his nose, then shifted uneasily on his chair.

“The mistake you make , don’t you see, is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You’re trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can’t. One’s got to change the system, or one changes nothing. One can’t put things right in a hole-and-corner way, if you take my meaning.”

Gordon waved a foot at the buggy ceiling. “Of course this is a hole-and-corner, I admit.”

“I didn’t mean that,” said Ravelston, pained.

“But let’s face facts. You think I ought to be looking about for a good job don’t you?”

“It depends on the job. I think you’re quite right not to sell yourself to that advertising agency. But it does seem rather a pity that you should stay in that wretched job you’re in at present. After all, you have got talents. You ought to be using them somehow.”

“There are my poems,” said Gordon, smiling at his private joke.

Ravelston looked abashed. This remark silenced him. Of course, there were Gordon’s poems. There was London Pleasures, for instance. Ravelston knew, and Gordon knew, and each other knew, that London Pleasures would never be finished. Never again, probably, would Gordon write a line of poetry; never, at least, while he remained in this vile (lower class) place, this blind-alley job (of not selling shit to others along with his soul to the devil) and this defeated mood (depression). He had finished with all of that. But this could not be said, as yet. The pretense was still kept up that Gordon was a struggling poet—the conventional poet-in-garret.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936





Everybody in this Space (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 217)

The truth is that we are so used to a one false move God, that we do not consider and appreciate the no matter whatness of God, the God who is just plain ole too busy loving us to be disappointed in us. That is the hardest thing to believe, but everybody in this space knows it’s the truest thing you can say about God.

Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit Priest famous for his decades long gang intervention efforts in Los Angeles.

This is an excerpt from an On Being interview w Krista Tippett.


Orwell: A Bard Navigating the World of the Gutter Crawlers (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 213)

The interesting thing about the New Albion was that it was so completely modern in spirit. There was hardly a soul in the firm who was not perfectly well aware that publicity—advertising—is the dirtiest ramp that capitalism has yet produced. In the red lead firm there had still lingered certain notions of commercial honour and usefulness. But such things would have been laughed at in the New Albion. Most of the employees were the hard-boiled, Americanised, go-getting type—the type to whom nothing in the world is sacred, except money. They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. And yet beneath their cynicism there was the final naïveté, the blind worship of the money-god. Gordon studied them unobtrusively. As before, he did his work passably well and his fellow-employees looked down on him. Nothing had changed in his inner mind. He still despised and repudiated the money-code. Somehow, sooner or later, he was going to escape from it; even now, after his late fiasco, he still plotted escape. He was in the money-world, but not of it. As for the types about him, the little bowler-hatted worms who never turned, and the go-getters, the American business-college gutter crawlers, they rather amused him than not. He liked studying their slavish keep-your-job mentality, He was the chiel amang* them takin’ notes.

One day a curious thing happened. Somebody chanced to see a poem of Gordon’s in a magazine, and put it about that they “had a poet in the office.” Of course Gordon was laughed at, not ill-naturedly, by the other clerks. They nicknamed him “the bard” from that day forth. But though amused, they were also faintly contemptuous. It confirmed all their ideas about Gordon. A fellow who wrote poetry wasn’t exactly the type to Make Good.

*the chiel amang = the young man (Scottish) among

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Moving Beyond the Stalemate of Being Enemy Combatants (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 211)


My study of moral psychology has made me somewhat more humble. It has made me realize that my mind will jump to conclusions and that many of those conclusions will be wrong. I can’t often perceive that reality at first. What I have found is that the best way to make an effective apology, which also happens to be a good way to initiate any kind of interaction and/or consideration for change with anyone, is to start by saying what you’re wrong about. So, in any sort of politically charged encounter, don’t start off by making your case about what you’re right about. Start off by saying what you know your side has been wrong about historically, and that you know the other side was right on those issues. Being humble, acknowledging fault, or praising something on the other side, has been proven to win hearts and minds, to create an atmosphere that supports consideration and empathy. Start off in that way, and then by the power of reciprocity, the other side is more inclined to match your effort. What you want to avoid at all costs is the normal human interaction of assuming that everyone who is not a blind unquestioning ally is an enemy combatant. Avoid throwing arguments at the other side for pure consumption and to create emotional outrage, not even by the other entity, but by the onlookers and bystanders of the matter. Avoid that dynamic at all costs. The power of apologies and acknowledgements, the expression of empathy and respect, is what is required to lay the groundwork for genuine conversation. That is what I want to leave with you.

Jonathan Haidt

(transcript from an On Being interview with significant editing/paraphrasing from me 2017)

A Good Story, Overconfidence, and Mattering (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 204)

Pretext Note: These are highly relevant and insightful quotes about behavior and awareness from a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economics for helping to create the field of behavioral economics.

What people want is not the well being of their experiencing self. What people want is more closely associated with a remembering self. They want to have good memories. They want good opinions of themselves. They want to have a good story about their life.

When you look globally at people’s actions, overconfidence is endemic. I mean we have too much confidence in our beliefs and our overconfidence is really associated with a failure of imagination. We cannot imagine an alternative to our beliefs. We are convinced that only our beliefs can be true. That is overconfidence. And overconfidence is almost always involved with failures of every sort, including those catastrophic and of great impact upon all of humanity. On the other hand, overconfidence and overconfident optimism is the engine of capitalism. I mean all entrepreneurs are overconfident. They all think they are going to be successful. People who open restaurants in New York, think they will succeed, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, but at least two thirds of them will have to give up within a few years. In our society, we reward overconfidence. We almost demand that our leaders exercise and proclaim overconfidence.

What I don’t know matters enormously. What I don’t see matters enormously.

Daniel Kahneman


Shattering Shackles and Straightening Spines (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 203)

Pretext Note: I own and operate a veterinary hospital.

My employees should be thankful that they have a job at my clinic, under my authoritarian rule. They should perpetually pledge and display their unquestioning allegiance and utmost loyalty to the protection, defense, and future thriving wellbeing of my business which they are only too fortunate to be employed by. To help them remember how fortunate they are under my leadership and in this relationship, I have them salute my company logo every morning when they get to work. My employees are not allowed to have their own opinions or beliefs about anything that could be even remotely associated with my business at any time during work hours or off hours. They are not allowed to contradict or question anything I say, because if I unintentionally or even intentionally mislead a client, I have a great reason to do so; to prioritize and protect the revenue of the company and that revenue is what puts the food on those employee’s tables. As an employee, their public behavior always reflects the spirit and image of the clinic and that is just simply much more important to their lives and salary than their individual concerns, beliefs, thoughts, or interests. The company truth is much more important than their individual truth if they want to continue benefitting from the worker’s paradise that I have created for them. They need to remember their place. They need to remember how much I have sacrificed and how hard I have worked to build this company that gives them the opportunity to work. They didn’t have to go to school as long as I did or even compete against others to earn my higher degree which allows this business to operate. They have not risked everything for the business like I have. They need to be appreciative, quiet, and compliant. They need to know where their bread is buttered. They need to know who is always in charge. They need to know the consequences of not obeying my policies and decrees. They need to know the fear of unemployment and starvation, so they appreciate all that they are lucky enough to benefit from as an employee of my business. The choice to work for my business in the free market conditions of our country is a blessing for them beyond reasonable expectation. They should never be unappreciative or disrespectful to me or my business.

That’s sadly how it works at most businesses and institutions in this day and age, including those of higher learning and from what I know, the military. That’s all bullshit. A bully authoritarian system of suppression implemented by fear and psychological manipulation. It is the exact opposite of respect and of freedom. The exact opposite of stabilization and co-existent harmony. I don’t care if it’s now the norm. I don’t care if it contains minute amounts of truth in its distorted and twisted philosophy. It’s wrong. It’s at the center of dead wrong and such an approach harms everyone in its dynamic.

Humanity must do better. We must learn to genuinely and profoundly respect one another again. We must stop celebrating the glutinous and destabilizing mad king mentality and our doublespeak doublethink marketing of such antics and behavior as that of the returning Savior. Marketed or propagandized truth cannot and will not set anyone free, but the true truth, the real reality, shatters shackles and straightens spines. That true truth, that real reality,  is the mandatory gatekeeper and ward necessary to set all of us free and in doing so, to lift everyone of us up in respectful nurturing mutual union.

Cribb          2017