Saturday, September 22, 2007

thinking vs being

Every now and again I have these potentially outrageous ideas inside my head on the "state of the world". The following one is a bit of a record of one such thought that occurred to me whilst packing up after work one day.

It may or may not be true but its just an IDEA and I am not too bad at pure Idea really, all things considered.

So here goes.... you are about to travel the deep dark recesses of my global thinking patterns.


During the "enlightenment" age of the mid 19th century, western civilisation moved from a culture of superstition and regulated unquestioned faith to a culture of reason and science.

The people who drove this movement had great argumentative skill and knowledge. Thinkers who made sense with their ideology and talent. It was a time for thinking and reasoned rational approaches as opposed to a time for blind obedience to pious superstitions.

Our culture rapidly adopted the dogma that all things have a reason and a motive in the physical realm and nothing that could not be explained empirically was worthy of as much respect as a measured fact.

The culture is changing again. I see the "west" (or more accurately perhaps...The North), seeking to reacquaint itself with less observable sets of "Laws" than what is physically apparent to the senses.

We are craving spiritual re-connection again with forces we cannot understand and nor are we choosing to understand them in quite the same way as we understand the "laws" of the physical world.

There is a large number of people in my demographic (white, middle-aged, middle-class, Anglo-Saxon-European heritage), seeking to think less about rational results and more about spiritual awareness. We want to BE IN the world again, not merely be on it or above it or outside of it. We want deep spiritual connections with everything again. We are seeing ourselves less and less as mere sojourners on this planet - as objective observers of the physical realm around us - to wanting instead, to become "at one" with the physical world. We seem to crave a kind of simpatico reciprocal system of natural union, a kind of soul-kinship to the natural world if you will.

Eastern cultures have always managed to combine both deep spiritual connections and rational application of physical laws to the world around them. They are quite happy to marry both of these apparently disparate thinking modes into a holistic pattern of everyday life.

Western cultures have never really successfully combined these two modes of application...spirituality and rationality....we are VERY good at boxing these things up into separate compartments...most often relegating spiritual things to a tiny box of superfluous importance to our daily existence.

None of what I have just said is empirical fact of course. I have not set out to make a study of what I have just stated with evidence to prove it in the affirmative. I have just stated what I believe is my gut feeling about what I understand to be happening generally in the culture in which I reside.

This blog post is the opposite way of disseminating "ethical and sound" information! At least from the standpoint of the last 200 + years! Nothing of what I have just said can be proven either way.

This very individual unproven and outspoken expression of my P.O.V. is now able to be given credence and potential for examination by those who happen to read it.

This is the new data verification of the age! Blogging, especially blogging about spiritual perspectives, is a "new" form of sermonizing I guess. A new way of feeding people's need for spiritual knowledge. It's also a platform for exegesis of the viewpoints, breeding collective memes that coherently join like-minded faith tribes together. Through the opinion and discussion of many P.O.V's, we will soon draw conclusions as to the validity of my statements or not.

We have moved from dismissing one individuals reasoning as un-empirical due to lack of data to adopting it as a possible theme for reasonable exploration and thought.

I "see" our world moving from setting rules according to observable principles to a world that is setting new rules that are not so observable and are much more individual in their expression and purpose. We are a people on the brink of a great spiritual and scientific change.

A "new" dogma is about to emerge and I believe it will combine both the principles and perhaps practices of very old faiths and superstitions repackaged under the principles of reason and thought through scientific research and data collection and lots and lots of rational debate. We are not just entering a technologically digital age... we are entering a new age of systematic spirituality as well.

For the moment I'm calling this new paradigm "Gaea Thinking". It will perhaps combine a series of belief systems from the "New Age" movement and scientific data collection to prove the empirical validity of these revised but essentially ancient Faith systems. It will be more fluid, more remote, less empirical, scattered, intense and very very irrational unless you happen to believe it of course! :)

I don't know

QYB (saluté Vlad)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Belief and Thought.

I was musing on the concept of Belief the other day.

I wondered...and I still do wonder... if Belief is merely a process of Thought or if it goes deeper than mere thinking.

I have many beliefs, some fundamental, resilient and some much more fluid in their expression.

These beliefs? Are they mere products of my thinking over the course of my life? Or, do my beliefs come from a different kind of source?

Now, I will not call these Beliefs "Faith" here. I do think that there is a quite different thing going on in Faith than in mere Beliefs. Put it this way; if Belief were the Forest, Faith would be the river that run through it. It is connected but its not entirely related to the same thing. One can believe a lot of things but not all of them one will have faith in.

Back to the question :)

Belief is a conclusion. How we arrive at this conclusion is a mystery. One can believe and doubt all at the same time. A belief is something that can be questioned. Sometimes we hold on to very tenuous beliefs with rigorous determination because we fear losing them but we also find we can't sustain our arguments in favour of keeping that belief any longer. Dogmatic Assumptions are not necessarily "good" Beliefs.

Thinking drives Doubt like a roller-coaster but Belief is something much deeper than Thought. We can probably create Belief from a study of a subject through intellectual knowledge and understanding but once the thinking moves into the realm of Belief it becomes more of a 'Hyper-Thought'; a little different to conscious thinking processes but there nonetheless.

Beliefs are self-factualized concepts. We assume our Beliefs to be True and Correct and its only when we have Thought bring argument to bear on Beliefs that we need to consciously drag our Beliefs up from the core of our being and into the realm of thinking and mind. We cannot describe our Beliefs without Thought. We cannot find others who share similar Beliefs to our own without consciously iterating them in word and deed. In order to describe Belief, we need to construct around it words and ideas with our conscious minds. Thoughts are imposed onto our Beliefs and Beliefs feed our thoughts. Like the twin polarities of a battery if you like. This makes for an ever-present current of unseen energy coursing through each human being every single moment of their lives.

But, maybe I now believe that Belief is on a different plane to Thought and thinking.

Perhaps Belief is a State of Being. Mind, body and soul all play their part in the construction of Belief. Our physical body cannot lie, unless trained to do so. Muscles, sinews and tissue hold to its own truth. Thinking transcends the Physical but its also related to it. Soul is another thing altogether but perhaps its safe to assume we can call the Identity, the Spirit of a person's Character, "Soul"...the essence of our individual being here in the world. All these conspire to create and reinforce Belief.

Perhaps Belief is a lens. It is the crystal through which we make out much of our individual worldview. We, each of us, have an individual way of "seeing" the world. Our Beliefs will determine much of our thinking on this worldview. The core of our being, will either be reinforced or threatened, by challenges to our deeply held Beliefs. We in turn, make judgements, assumptions, and declarations based on this lens through which we view the world before us. Belief provides us with a view that is unlike anyone elses...albeit it can be similar to someone elses.

Belief is something we DO. It isn't always obvious what someone is thinking. However, what someone believes deep down at the core of their person; Mind, Body and Soul; will be borne out in their actions and their spoken words. So, Belief is a very observable thing. Some people will tell you things they say they believe but their bodies and their spirits will tell a very different story. Sometimes it might be because they have never brought their beliefs to the surface of conscious understanding and sought to think them through. This is a lie based on ignorance. Sometimes it is because they want to hide what they really believe and so attempt to deliberately construct a lie. This is dishonesty.

Our actions state what we truly believe underneath all our thinking, our physical selves and our soul.

Thought and Belief are definitely intertwined, but they are not necessarily the one and the same thing. What we think may not make us what we are...but Belief that makes it so.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is there a problem with being too positive about everything?

That just hit me like a lightening rod just now.

I was reading some of the posts and comments on various blogs in the "Why most leadership sucks...." dialogue. Then I noted some of the blogs in my blogroll at Bloglines. The question that heads up this blog post is what hit me!

I may have to spend some time thinking some more about this but I so see this trend running rampant through certain blogging communities right now. It seems that many bloggers are writing about a particular concept called "Attraction".

Who started it is anyone's guess. The "Law of Attraction" has become something of a minor credo and faith statement for many bloggers. There is much exegesis being developed and refined in clarifying what it actually means to hold to the "Law of Attraction".

In a nutshell, the "Law of Attraction" implies that everything in the universe is a whole and that we are not indivisible or separate from everything else. Everything is enveloped ergo whatever you think is whatever you get as what you think will be reflected in the environment around you.

Christian theology screams that this is wrong of course but I don't think I'll go off on a tangent trying to prove or disprove the errancy of the attraction thinking thing from that stance. Even I have been caught up in the mindset of the "Law of Attraction". My mind is split into a warring tribe of two hemispheres on it though. I do tend to struggle with identifying what is purely selfishness in my wanting to "attract" certain things and what is genuinely healthy positive thinking.

Christians, on the whole, can be rather morose...(I have no idea why, not all of us are like this but the stereotype is warranted even so)... so anything that gets them to lighten up and get a grip on being joyful is a good thing. Still; there is something about the "Law of Attraction" model of being über positive about EVERYTHING that seems to be a little naive and even perhaps a little dangerous.

We surely don't WANT to attract bad teaching, bad leaders, bad weather, bad Presidents or bad wars! But are these things going to change just through the process of our collective Pollyanna-ering? I don't think so!

People is people.

We are all of us...each and everyone of us...flawed.

One of the intrinsic issues with human beings is our sense of our SELF. We protect, nurture, invest and progress our SELF in the world much more than many of us care to admit. We assume ourselves to be gods in and of our own right and we nearly all of us think that everyone else "should" think the same we do about everything in our periphery of focus.

I do think there is a time to be subjective about our reality and I do also think that there must be times when we have to be objective about our reality. It's a question of balance sure. Some people caught in the objective reality trap tend toward being very cynical and too matter-of-fact to the point of unempathy. Some people also get caught in the trap of being so subjective about things they start to sound a little too other-worldy to be Real.

Of course this is just MY perspective on things.

It's GOOD to focus on the stuff that is lovely in our lives. We've done little of that in our past history as a modern culture. But its also WISE to not get too hung up on trying to see everything as a part of some hyper spiritual exercise in Subjectivism too. I didn't just "rez" this computer through attractive positive thinking... we bought it after long discusson on its merits with cold hard cash that we earned through very objective hard work.

I buy the occasional lottery ticket and can attract for all I'm worth, the the winning first division prize, but I rarely get it let alone any prize at matter how positively I think about it - (and many who follow "Law of Attraction" thinking would say that that argument is faulty anyway).

Sometimes it just feels damn GOOD to be grumpy and angry and full of "bah humbug" about everything that we haven't got or want or need!

As I said... People is People. We do as we do for our own interests despite all our nattering about doing it for the "good of all".

It's when we have a focus on a real Someone OUTSIDE of our SELF, and we forget to be so egocentric and all-knowing and all-seeing and approach life from the perspective of keeing it real in grateful acceptance and trust along with humble awe... then we tend to stumble on happiness in spite of everything bad that is currently happening to us. And yes... even Christians need to realise this too!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Why most leadership sucks..including mine

I have been tagged by John McKenna at The Leadership Epidemic to comment on this meme he has put forth into the Blogosphere.

Does all Leadership actually "suck"?


There is leaderSHIP and LEADERship.

Note my attempt at scripting art there in those words. :)

A "SHIP" requires a captain who can steer a compliment of crew and resources across hazardous waters to a nominated port. There is a clear description of priorities, purpose, and effort required by all the cogs in this massive wheel of undertaking. A "SHIP" cannot sail itself. A crew maybe made up of many individuals with plenty of opinions and experience but a part of the Captains job is to ensure that all those opinions and all that experience is harnessed effectively for the "good of all" in reaching the shore across the sea. A ship without a Captain or any leader for that matter is a somewhat sloppily managed vessel of disorganised tacking...sometimes against the wrong winds.

There are naturally gifted Captains who through their temperament and talents, their expertise and experience, are able to be clear in their purpose but also effective in keeping the morale and focus of the crew. They are strong willed enough to make the tough decisions and bring them into effect but not without being mindful of the husbandry and care for their team mates, the crew. The "SHIP" is what is important here. It's a collective thing. A combined effort of everyone doing their job and with focused energy and impetus.

....and then there is "LEADER"ship!

A "LEADER" is about his or her personal agenda. The ship is merely a means to an end. There is wealth, power, prestige and glory on the shore at the other end. The goal for the "LEADER" is to get to these goodies as soon as practically possible at all costs. The crew are merely servants in the process of achieving personal will and pride. The job may still get done and the ship will dock safely at the other side... without the crew deciding to commit mutiny... but the unseen costs maybe quite high.

Across human history we have "appointed" leaders of both types to fulfil a role in our collective tribal existences. We appoint some leaders who are qualified to lead a ship and lead it with careful consideration for the welfare of everyone involved in the quest. We also appoint leaders who are autocratically determined to run roughshod over anything and everyone to achieve their goals.

Neither leadership style is really that bad in and of itself. We do very much tend to like and admire the first kind in our current culture, as its more democratic and appears to be more friendly-like and so on. But both kinds of leadership serve a purpose at their given time.

Some really autocratic and unethical behaviour in leadership has led to a nation/country/people to collectively change their thinking and behaviours and rise up to make the world a better place for everyone. The "LEADER"ship they endured absolutely sucked at the time of its implementation and a great many people suffered under its expression, however, collective wisdom suddenly begins to prevail among the masses when this happens and great improvements for future generations are made through the denial of such "LEADER"ship.

Some really, really good leader"SHIP" has quietly and carefully brought people together in a spirit of passionate commitment to making the world a better place. Consider Christ's example in this; a very humble man (His divinity aside if you prefer)... who by his gentle and consistent example changed the world for more than a few generations!

As for me, my leadership "style" is one of never assuming I know it all! I do like to share my passionate vision - when I have one - with people, though. I have been in leadership situations and I worked hard... (a leader by definition always works hard, either doing the job or trying hard to avoid doing the job :)). I have been in leadership situations where I was the one calling the shots and in leadership situations where I was able to let the team become passionate with a shared clarity of purpose. If my leadership ever "sucked" in those moments, it was because I lost a sense of my purpose and did not have a clear focus on the port ahead in choppy seas. That's when things changed and a new leader came into being and a new sense of collective purpose was realised.

Most leadership is just what it is in its Moment. It only appears to "suck" when it seems to be working against our own personal or collective will.

Time heals in extraordinary ways and the "suckiness" of those situations is usually mitigated by a collective will to create a better style, a better Leader, a better collective wisdom, a stronger desire to improve the lot for all the people. For that reason no leadership really sucks in the end just IS as it is, moving people forward or back through time and future... just like a ship that tacks with or against the wind across the water.

For as long as people inhabit the earth they will demand that we are led by something or someone. It's who we are.

Tagging craze!

It seems bloggers are in the throes of a a craze similar to when I was a child on the playground and we played a particular game for weeks on end with intense focus and passion.

I recall we played this particular game of "Poison Ball" every opportunity we got during recess and lunch. The game had two players either end of the "court" and everyone else was in the middle. A basketball was then thrown between the two end players across this court with the aim of tagging as many of the bodies in the middle on its way through. if you were in the middle and got belted by a highspeed basketball, you had to join the end of the court from which the ball had been thrown. The last person standing in the middle was deemed the "winner" no matter which end player had the most players on his end of the court.

Then there was the hopscotch craze which I think I actually started come to think of it. Most hopscotch was a basic T shaped pattern of boxes chalked onto the ground. You placed a stone or block of wood into the first square. Then hopping on one foot you had to both hop and kick the stone into the next correct numbered square to move ahead. If you touched your free foot to the ground, it was the next persons turn. If the stone went outside any of the lines, you were "out" and disqualified from further play. The winner was the one who successfully could kick their stone from square number 1 through to square number 7 or 8 I can't remember. Anyway, I "invented" a rather complicated version of hopscotch that involved having to kick the stone across a number of squares and and back and forth in a kind of zigzag though the re-designed grid. It became somewhat of a hit...even with the boys... as it implied a lot more kinesthetic skill to achieve good results. We played it for numerous weeks until for some reason another craze came along.

And now here we are in cyberspace playing almost exactly the same kinds of games but in a virtual and textual context.

Tagging each other with plea's for posts and linkages.

There are however, no winners or losers in these new "grown-up" versions of internet Hopscotch and Poisonball. This new form of tagging is more about a group of like-minded bloggers backing each other up to get "ratings", traffic and just good old fashioned information sharing.

The Individual voices amongst us are looking for a Tribe in which they can belong I think. We start out blogging to express our own individual point of view and then want others to play along, so we invent these games to find those, out there, who are willing to play by the same "rules" that we have assumed for our own world view.

I'm not being cynical here. It's a natural and very normal part of the collective human behaviour to want to do this. The dichotomy of autonomy and collective soul is always present in the human being. We are both individual and just goes with the territory of blogging that we gravitate to those bloggers on the growing numbers of lists that match our own values and opinions on specific ethical grounds.

So when I was recently tagged for the Personal Development List, it is probably congruent and coherent to assume that I will be henceforth tagged for various other off-shoot lists too.

I'm now tagged to comment on the new "list" (if it can be called thus), for the topic Why most Leadership sucks...including yours

I'm not going to do that in this post though. Read the next one for my thoughts on the topic. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ich schreibe Deutsch

Heute schreibe ich ein Blogpost zum esten Mal in Deutsch.

Ich lerne seit fast 6 Monaten und ich kämpfe immer noch mit Verben und Bedeutungen.

Ich glaube, ich werde mit der Zeit und Übung besser werden.

Bleiben Sie dran!

Today I'm writing my first Blogpost in German. I've been learning for 6 months and I still struggle with verbs and meanings. I guess I will get better with practise. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

blogs blogs blogs

So as if I had nothing else to do lately.... I keep seeing that giant list of Personal Development Blogs I posted about y/day and I feel strangely compelled to waste some time perusing them all and selecting the ones I really connect with to add into my Bloglines page.

It's totally crazy to assume I can do this right now though. My life is supremely busy enough at present. I am however, really glad I have taken the time to make this list work for me here as I can now choose a new blog on a whim to go read and enjoy.

I don't listen to much "news" on the radio anymore and nor do I read much of it in the papers. The "news" as we get these days, is often a bunch of half-truths and hearsay tackled together in some poor cousin version of Gossip! I don't find any useful information I can actually do something with. If I felt I had the power to change the state of the world via listening to the "news", I'd have done so long ago. All the "news" ever did was frustrate me, make me anxious, sad, depressed and feel incredibly powerless against the the forces of evil present in the world.

When I was younger, I used to write carefully constructed letters to the editor (LTTE) of our local paper in protest at various political/social issues I thought were just plain wrong! I don't even do that anymore! It doesn't change anything other than release my angst in a public forum and that doesn't engender much change I've found.

Blogs on the other hand do something entirely differently than make any commentary on the "news". They are almost like Letters to the Editor in a way - but, there is a different kind of energy to them even so. Blogs also provide the viewpoint of one individual just like LTTE. However, blogs have a voice that is very different on the whole to those you would read in the Whine Columns of any tabloid newspaper.

That voice which I generally read in a blog, is unique and natural for the most part. It is entirely contrived in the heart, mind, soul and experience of the writer. They are not as carefully constructed as most LTTE's but they are often much more coherent all the same.

I find these voices much more informative and world-changing in their content. There are thoughts in the collective mind of bloggers across the Web 2.0.07 that resonate with the same fundamental concepts. I find myself revelling in this collective consciousness despite the diversity and differences within the various individual postings.

There is more "news" to me in the blogosphere than in the current commercial excuse for information via traditional media. I feel compassion for journalists of integrity who love their work and seek to make a difference in this world through making sure people hear the truth behind the stories. Thing is, so much of that truth is either cleverly hidden or just blatantly hijacked by commercial interests. So many people can be duped into believing so much that is just plain wrong! All it seems to take is the illusion that "Everyone thinks like this". When the "news" is broadcast, the facts are presented from the perspective of the Little everyMan and the hard core truth is either ignored or hidden and I guess that must frustrate honest Journalists who want do more than just tell stories.

I guess one of the problems with The Truth in news is that The Truth is so polarizing. It either is or it isn't. There are no shades of grey, no fences to sit on, no compromises, no negotiations. Truth just IS. It isn't even relative only that people make it so. The "news" on TV and in papers seems to present this image of it being the wellspring for The Truth. I have found it lacking rather badly in that respect.

Blogs do something entirely different to "news". They provide information across all truths (not necessarily The Truth)... the truths of individuals, from their experiences and thoughts, their temperaments and talents. These truths are all relative in that sense as they are as unique as the fingerprints of their creators. There are shades of colour, diversity of idea, opinion and even challenging rhetoric. This doesn't offend me in the same way as traditional news media has. I can accept a multiplicity of unique truths because these are truths of individuals. They are not packaged as the collective opinion of the Little everyMan.

So, instead of hearing and reading "the news", I choose to read blogs for my information right now because they sing to me in far, far greater ways of the potential in mankind toward justice and peace for all - many truths leading toward The Truth.

How great the power of the individual who has mastered the art of gentle words.