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

An Asshole and a Victim (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 202)

The more you bend or distort truth the more likely you’re an asshole or a victim. The victim often believes it necessary to bend and distort their own truth to counter the pseudo-reality approach of the asshole. The problem is that such a tactic resolves nothing. It forces no correction with the measure and mirror of truth and reality. It only provides a counter excuse for the asshole to continue their orchestrated destabilizations with even less thought and comprehension than before.

Eventually, such an approach leads to the victim becoming another asshole. Resistance is not futile. You cannot fight delusion with delusion. Forget about countering the asshole with asshole tricks and tactics. Focus all of your effort intensely on your comprehensive awareness of objective unbiased reality. That choice unbends truth and brings it resolutely into focus. Unbent truth is the only grace capable of resolving victimization and forcing an asshole to see themselves as they truly exist beyond the mask of all of their plausible layers of excuse and delusion.

Truth is the proper correction for all.

Cribb          2017

To Be or Not To Be, That is Not the Question (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 201)

I would say that the major religious problem today is the systematic liquidation of man’s sensitivity to the challenge of God. Let me try to explain that. We cannot understand man in his own terms. Man is not to be understood in the image of nature, in the image of an animal, or in the image of a machine. He has to be understood in terms of a transcendence, and that transcendence is not a passive thing; it is a challenging transcendence. Man is always being challenged; a question is always being asked of him. The moment man disavows the living transcendence, he is contracted; he is reduced to a level on which his distinction as a human being gradually disappears. What makes a man human is his openness to transcendence, which lifts him to a higher level than himself. Overwhelmed by the power he has achieved, man now has the illusion of sovereignty; he has become blind to his own situation, and deaf to the question being asked of him.

To destroy the illusion that man is his own center cannot be done easily. In order to understand, and to cultivate an openness to transcendence, many prerequisites are necessary, prerequisites of the mind and of the heart. However, our society, our education, all continue to corrode mens’ sensibilities. I am not optimistic; we are getting poorer by the day. To give you an example: Man does not feel a sense of outrage anymore, even in the face of crime. We are getting used to it. We are getting accustomed to evil. We are surrendering to that which we call inevitable. That is fatalism; it is pagan. The message of the Bible is that man is capable of making a choice. Choose life — but instead we choose death, blindness, callousness, helpnessness, despair.

Religion, if taught as religion, has no life. In order to understand what the Bible says, one has to understand life as seen by the Bible, all of life. My understanding of the meaning of God depends on my way of looking at this very table, at this very desk, at everything, at creation. The tragedy of religion is partly due to its isolation from life, as if God could be segregated. God has become an alibi for our conscience, for real faith. He has become a sort of after-life insurance policy.

Just as we are commanded to love man, we are also called upon to be sensitive to the grandeur of God’s creation. We are infatuated with our great technological achievements; we have forgotten the mystery of being, of being alive. We have lost our sense of wonder, our sense of radical amazement at sheer being. We have forgotten the meaning of being human and the deep responsibility involved in just being alive. Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” But that is no problem. We all want to be. The real problem, biblically speaking, is how to be and how not to be; that is our challenge, and it is what makes the difference between the human and the animal. The animal also wants to be. For us, it is the problem of how to be and how not to be, on the levels of existence. Now, what is the meaning of God? The meaning of God is precisely the challenge of “how to be.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel          1966