Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Elephant Dung (Part III in a series) (4.5.09)

The Pearl of Great Price

He asked me what I was looking for.

"Frankly," I said, "I'm looking for the Pearl of Great Price."

He slipped his hand into his pocket, drew it out, and GAVE IT TO ME.  It was just like that!  I was dumbfounded.  Then I began to protest:  "You don't want to give it to me?  Don't you want to keep it for yourself?  But..."

When I kept this up, he said finally, "Look, is it better to have the Pearl of Great Price, or to give it away?" --

Well, now I have it.  I don't tell anyone.  From some there would be disbelief and ridicule.  "You, you have the Peart of Great Price?  Hah!"  Others would be jealous, or someone might steal it.  Yes, I do have it.  But there's that question---  "Is it better to have it, or to give it away?"  How long will that question rob me of my joy?"

[From Tales of a Magic Monastery by Theophane the Monk]

So much to learn.  So little time.....

The importance of a theory, for me, is its usefulness.  And Erikson's theory shows how development extends over a lifespan.  It demonstrates the positives which enrich society and the negatives which may undermine society or civil discourse.  But the good thing is that when you can name something and see it as part of a pattern, it helps you "see" where the problems lie.  And maybe even to make use of the problems - by finding creative solutions.

It is a sad fact that blogging sometimes brings out the worst in people -- nay-saying, trolling, belittling.  This kind of behavior sows mistrust.  It tries to disrupt cooperation. often using shaming in the process.  You've seen such comments - comments at the lower levels of Erikson's developmental stages.

Here is simple rhyme that will help you remember how to categorize certain uphelpful comments, meant to distract or disrupt polite conversation:
Those who throw poo       
Trying to shame you       
Teaching Stage II       
Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt.  That's Stage 2 of Erikson's theory.  The virtue of resolving that stage, as I've redefined it, is cooperation.  The person who learns to accept limits and to cooperate becomes more independent in the process.  Cooperation is so basic to society.  Just like trust. 

Most of us learned this long ago.

Giving.  That's the basis of cooperation.  How often have you seen a tiny toddler going around a room giving?  That child is learning to "give up" and cooperate. 

Self-less giving is the virtue of Stage 7:  Generativity.  I pass this piece of wisdom along:  Sometimes a heap of dung may yield the Pearl of Great Price.



Thera, such a wonderful message. We live in a culture of punishment--shaming is preferred over teaching. I think that is a true opposite shaming vs. teaching. That may be the root of so much, if not all conflict in the world.
I love that you note how cooperation makes us more independent. So often we set those two qualities as opposites: cooperation vs. independence. But in reality if we reject something or someone, we're still very closely related to them. All we've done is negate them. As in logic, to negate proposition A is to propose -A. We've generated nothing new. Only the flip side of that which we dislike. Which is why, the more I think about it, the last post on the value of mistrust was such an anomaly! It never negated the pitchforking and revolutionary spirit. It invoked it, and then it gently guided it in a productive/generative direction. Really awesome. You are a gem Thera.
Bless you, satyagraha. This is our task! You have described it well.
Indeed teaching tales are meant to move us up the developmental ladder. If you read them in the right state of mind, they expand your thinking. And they help you to expand the thinking of others.
Shaming vs teaching. Thank you for crystalizing that!
It's amazing how my contention that inventiveness and creativity can be jogged by something meant to spread mistrust, meant to shame. Perhaps painting is the adaptive side of the coin of "spreading poo." Makes me wonder if some of those cave paintings were a lesson to children.
We're learning so much here!
Assimilate the teaching tale. And you find accommodation to reality!
(we need more teaching tales. I have many volumes of them!)
"Assimilate the teaching tale. And you find accommodation to reality!"
OK... here's what I've assimilated...
Prometheus (Greek meaning "forethought") brought fire to man. For his transgressions, Zeus had his liver torn out over and over every day.
The Pearl of Great Price is like fire. When you apply it, it can be useful. When you hold it, it can be deadly.
The nature of fire is such that it must stay in motion. Once it stops moving it stops being fire--and as the tale teaches, it becomes a destructive rather than generative force.
It's like gift giving in Indian culture. When someone gives a gift and then takes it back, we call that Indian Giving. But the purpose was to let as many people within the community enjoy the gift. The more it moved, the more valuable it became.
And so the Pearl of Great Price is valuable in the state of motion, yet costly when still.
On the legal level, it brings up intellectual property and copyright law. In what sense does knowledge or wisdom BELONG to someone? And are we encouraging a destructive pattern by isolating knowledge into, as the tale would have it, one person's pocket?
That is just wonderful! So many thoughts in one commment! Rich! :-)
I want to share a "poem" of sorts. I did not write it. It's actually lyrics to a song. I think it's even more relevant to the "letting go" theme than my Zen story.
Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.
Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end.
Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Terrified of being wrong. Ultimatum prison cell.
Saturn ascends, choose one or ten. Hang on or be humbled again.
Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end.
Saturn ascends, comes round again.
Saturn ascends, the one, the ten. Ignorant to the damage done.
Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.
Wear the grudge like a crown. Desperate to control.
Unable to forgive. And we're sinking deeper.
Defining, confining, controlling, and we're sinking deeper.
Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let's you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent.
Saturn comes back around. Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone
To consume you till you choose to let this go.
Give away the stone.
Let the oceans take and transmutate this cold and fated anchor.
Give away the stone.
Let the waters kiss and transmutate these leaden grudges into gold.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
Let go.
This is wonderful, satyagraha. And it teaches me something "meta" in addition to what it teaches overtly. And that is that a grudge, a denial, is like cognitive dissonance or like failed accommodation. Instead of adapting to reality, the person holds the grudge or is in denial. And that feeds the rage.
Paranoia is a kind of failed coping with loss. A denial and then a projection - like if a person has lost a wallet but blames it on "forces" that are after them.
And this song, together with a wonderful description of coping with thorns (way down the bottom of the page by stratofrog) makes me wonder if part of stage 2 - a negative part of it - is a kind of seething anger, related to not accepting reality.
That is wonderful poem/song. Amazing how lessons can be learned on so many levels. Especially when people are thinking together. Sharing this and that. And out of the sharing - even sharing of frustrations (as stratofrog does) - gems emerge. Pearls of Wisdom.
I am continually amazed by TPM people!

You are so good! Yes! Failed accomodation. I think that really states the thrust of the song to perfection. And paranoia as a failed coping with loss. Wow. I never thought of it like that, but it's perfect.
My favorite part is "Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end." It's funny because if you miss the point that independence only comes through cooperation, then you assume that your rationalizations and justifications are keeping you from being controlled or something--that they are absolutely necessary for a dignified life. What a mistake!
The way we see the world is a real intimate part of ourselves; having to adjust it is not easy. In a sense we have to lose our orientation to the world. Accepting that is crucial--accepting the disorientation. Denying it, like you say, distances you from reality--which fuels regret of reality--which, emotionally, turns into rage. "Reality is wrong" becomes the basic assumption. And so the implication is that, reality is conspiring against you. That's not an easy hole to dig yourself out of. But, I think with people like you Thera--providing a sense of kindness and non-judgment--the likelihood increases greatly that someone in that position will reach back out towards reality. I think that's the deepest kind of cooperation, and probably the most difficult. What an angel you are!
Stratofrog's post is the prototype of how to handle reality. The thorns are part of it. All we can hope to do is understand their PURPOSE. Once we get that, the pain is processed and not displaced. (pardon the Freudian concept of displacement, but I think that one's probably correct.)

Let me refine that. I think that one is very useful--not correct.
Teaching Tales: Here's another.
What is zen? Dried dung.
Dried Dung... so true. The Pearl of Great Price. I'm still digesting that one. I suspect it will take a while.
While the ole digestive system is working, I'd like to share with you my favorite tale: The Tunnel.
Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official's wife and was discovered. In self-defence, he slew the official. Then he ran away with the wife.
Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant.
To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there.
Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet long, 20 feet high, and 30 feet wide.
Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain--who was a skillful swordsman--found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge.
"I will give you my life willingly," said Zenkai. "Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me."
So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zenkai kept on digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai's strong will and character.
At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel in safety.
"Now cut off my head," said Zenkai. "My work is done."
"How can I cut off my own teacher's head?" asked the younger man with tears in his eyes.
Thank you, satyagraha. That is so beautiful! We can create a zendo right here at TPM. And in the face of difficulties, we can share our stories.
Namaste. I bow before you.
And I before you!
It is almost like some people do not like to see other people happy. I mean, some kids are playing in the school yard. They are swinging on the swings, and sliding on the slides, and running around and playing tag.
And the bullies just show up and start pushing people down.
It is one thing to simply post your own blog and yell about this theory, or criticize a conclusion, or take the entire TPM site to task. I disagree but I usually just stay out of it.
I just read a great blog by Steve Katz, taking THE ART OF WAR and applying it to the New Administration. I did not agree with some of his conclusions. But I was so taken by his style.
I can disagree with someone and really enjoy reading the argument.
I just cannot get over how people can get mad at someone who is attempting to deal with faith, hope and charity. I am speechless.
It is like you, TheraP are in the school yard with your friends like MBHill, Flower, Mage, and a host of others (of course you have over a hundred following you here) and you all are swinging on the swings, sliding on the slides and playing tag. Communicating with each other. Sharing stories, and losses and pain, and happiness....

Cooperation and giving. I mean, this ought to raise the ire of a lot of people.
How in the hell can anyone disagree with cooperation and giving? We shall see.
Well done, dd! Indeed I do think of us as on a playground. And some, for whatever reason, choose to be bullies.
What a lovely comment, dd! Thank you so much. :-)
Oh TheraP, I wrote this and then worried it would be taken in a wrong manner. I thought maybe you would think I was diminishing the scholar, the PHD, the professional. Oh I AM SO HAPPY YOU HAVE TAKEN THIS AS GIVEN.
For the reasons enumerated before, this "vision quest" certainly does resemble playground games.
Frolic, share stories and be happy.
Why not? Have a discussion and not throw stones, just a little logic, a little color. ha
I refer you to the first statement of my previous comment. I am not interested in entertaining this fantasy world.
What are you interested in Karl? Please share? You can play too!
We're all ears here...
This situation seems familiar......
Karl, that was not an attempt to belittle, but to use humor. Hell, the German philosophers are my favorites. When you're ready to play, we can all be Germans!!! I got dibs on Schopenhauer!!!
Giving. That's the basis of cooperation. How often have you seen a tiny toddler going around a room giving? That child is learning to "give up" and cooperate.
Your definition of cooperation is so different from mine. For me it simply means to work together for mutual benefit.
I did take the time to check the dictionary and, as with most words, it has more than one definition.
cooperating (k-p-rt) intr.v. co·op·er·at·ed, co·op·er·at·ing, co·op·er·ates 1. To work or act together toward a common end or purpose. 2. To acquiesce willingly; be compliant: asked the child to cooperate and go to bed.
3. To form an association for common, usually economic, benefit: When buyers cooperate, they can make large wholesale purchases at a discount.
I suppose you could say we are both right but I still prefer definitions 1 and 3 over 2. Cooperation as compliance or submission will be a really hard sell in our culture.
Emma, of course cooperation among adult is as you define it. But I was describing a child. A child in the early stages of learning what cooperation means. As we grow, we develop. And naturally cooperation for you and I is quite different from that of tiny tots or even the third and fourth graders I taught long ago. Stage 2 is not the same kind of playing as later stages, for example 3 and 4 and on up. Our playing, here for example, is often via humor.
Thanks for your comment, Emma. Good to see you here!
Let me say one more thing, Emma. Indeed, the toddler, going around a room - giving things - is acting quite independently for their age. Giving whatever object and getting back a great deal of attention. Children are so adept at that! :)
The overall meaning in your writing is indeed wonderful as well as timely but there are a few points I would like to inject for further examination and discussion. Ironically, it was the last post by Emma that lead me down this path.
Human nature has a paradoxical quality. We can do bad things for good reasons and give only in order to get. Selfless giving would seem to alleviate the latter but would it be the main component of cooperation? I don’t see it as the main or key component but one of several. Selfless giving doesn’t require a reciprocal action, cooperation does. Therefore I’m more incline to believe mutual trust and understanding are the key components of cooperation, more importantly, the key to sustained cooperation.

It's important to consider the stages, as I wrote to Emma above. I'm assuming you may have children and interacted with them differently at different ages - as is appropriate.
I did take into account the stages and yes I do have a child (now an adult) and acted and reacted to her on many levels at many different stages in her growth. It was the premise, "That child is learning to "give up" and cooperate," plus Emma's post that has me looking at this differently. Giving in and of itself, will not insure cooperation.
One can give their time, their thoughts their money, selflessly but there isn't any guarantee the receiver will return the action in kind.Cooperation requires a mutually beneficial act for both and all parties. That's where I have difficulty accepting that giving, even selfish giving is the key to cooperation. Maybe "key" is the operative word I'm grappling with.
I'm not disputing the overall message or any stories or theories that may have inspired your thoughts. I agree that cooperation is important in a peaceful society and because I agree, I feel it's necessary to know and understand the actions that lead us there.
It's possible I'm jumping the gun and future writings will reveal more steps. For now, the reader is left to conclude that only giving is the key to cooperation. That's where I find myself in disagreement.
You have a good point. Now I get it. The task, as I view it, is to give selflessly and see who can return the gifts. If the gifts return, that builds trust. And you can cooperate together on tasks. If the gift is not returned, you can shake the dust off your sandals and go on - till you find someone to cooperate with.
Only some can learn. Only some can share. That is a sad but true fact. C'est la vie - as the French say. And it's true.
Exactly, now we're on the same page. :)
That was made clear in the comments in the first or second of these blogs. But I'll try to clarify that as we go forward. There is so much meat here, it's hard to write it all down.
Hum, Thera did Theophane the Monk's story serve as a basis for this story?
I'm busy reading the story, bwak. Unless both Theophane and Steinbeck used a similar "source" for the stories, I doubt there was influence either way. Theophane's book was originally published in 1981. He was a Trappist monk from his youth and was allowed to spend significant time at zen monasteries, while remaining a Christian monk. His tales may be an amalgam of that zen experience and other wisdom tales - though he reports that all the stories are "true".
In any case, I'll go back to reading the Steinbeck story. I love Steinbeck. He is contemporary again, sad to say.
Thank you for the link!

Oh, bwak... now I have to get the book and read what comes in the middle! (to answer your question, who knows if Theophane had read the story but forgotten it - while keeping the wisdom)
Too late to find out. Theophane died a few years back. I met him twice. I have a signed copy of the book - though a cryptic signing. Only I know he wrote the few words.
Now I have to get this book! Library. Tomorrow!
Oh Bwak, you are so wonderful at times!!!
Not sure what happened to my second comment to you, bwak. But now I have to find the book to read the part in the middle! Library. Tomorrow.
Great story! :)
I would loan you my copy, but LisB haz it.
Very kind offer. But I'm sure the library has it. I will go there tomorrow afternoon - in between taking the elderly parents, one by one, to the dentist. (It gives me a perfect thing to do in between the first and the second trips - and then something to read in the meanwhile!)
This is an eye-opening experience. By taking a negative attitude, one's position is entirely dependent on the existence of the "other". Without other, the "Negator" cannot define himself. This is exactly where the Republicans are today. Their position depends entirely on where the Democrats are. They are dependent on us and therefore weak. So sad to see them so survile. So unfortunate they cannot share the burden they created, but rather need to shame those who would pick it up and move forward.
So beautifully put, Gregor. Thank you! :)
For some the adage, 'It's better to give than recieve' has been abused. It's give and take that we need.
But, it's also the recognition that cooperation does not equate to another old saw, 'Going along to get along'. Too many perceive, even declare, that cooperation will result in surrender. Not so. It's cooperation that will enable us to form and nurture a process where we can derive achievements and benefits that will improve our lives. Individually and collectively.
We need to traverse the path that will lead us to an environment that promotes positive dialogue and sharing of concepts, processes and potential resolutions. A co-op,if you will, that allows us to draw on the assets equally.
And in the spirit of creative and positive solutions:
Article: Elephant dung helps scientists develop new biofuel!..........
Which provides proof, that even dung can be recycled into something beneficial! Talk about give and take!
Wonderful! I love how you've taken this to the environmental level! Kudos!
Thanks for (a) coming back and (b) having the solidity to stand in the face of that blathering coward, Thera.
This post reminds me of something I heard, where someone, on the occasion of giving something of considerable value away to another who had admired it, commented that if we can't bring ourselves to give something away, we don't own it so much as it owns us.
And knowledge is something we still have, even as we share it.
Not only that, as we grow older, we "know" that we cannot take it when we die. We must learn to "give up" - to give and to receive, and ultimately to totally "give up" our life. Meanwhile we learn and we share our learning with each other.
Thanks for your encouragement, your kind words, and your wisdom! :)
"The person who learns to accept limits and to cooperate becomes more independent in the process. Cooperation is so basic to society. Just like trust."
I wonder, Thera, where our current society would be were it not for those that denied the limits. Who redefined them through the peaceful lack of cooperation. Independent thought led to the civil rights movement, the right to vote for women and the ongoing struggle for equality in the form of gay and lesbian marriage. So many more efforts too numerous to mention but no less important. Transforming society for the better, one step - one independently limitless yet society-changing step - at a time. Just as our ideas of right and wrong evolve, our understanding of cooperation must, as well.

Good points. There are "limits" (ethical ones) and there are "limits" (thinking inside the box). And you point out so well the need to think outside the box!
Thanks as ever! :)
Then doesn't the theory of "thinking outside the box" reflect opposition to "cooperation is so basic to society"? Does not trust become the railroad track between them? It is so much easier to trust what we know, what we have learned through our life. We believe and digest what we are taught if it is repeated ad nauseam from the time we are young through adulthood. Especially if society says that cooperation and trust is required. It is far more difficult and challenging to our very nature to question that trust. To question society. To make a difference when the lack of cooperation is required to do so.
No, that would fit with the previous blog actually, where I discussed how art and inventiveness can be fueled by finding "problems" and seeking solutions.
We learn to cooperate, yes. But we also want to teach people to think for themselves. That's what the whole idea of the developmental theory is. At first children take in information, but then they begin to act more like little scientists - as do we all - hopefully.
Cooperation is basic to society. No question. And there's a conflict for people when someone comes up with a novel idea or new paradigm or an invention. Some people take to the "new" and cooperate - like us over the web. Others shun the new or denigrate it.
It's very complicated. People need to learn to think and even think outside the box. But if you share your new ideas, that's an effort to cooperate.
However, duplicitous people who seek to gain your trust and appear to cooperate, but then use that to betray you - well, there's something terribly wrong there. This is happening in this financial mess and it happened with going to war in Iraq and the torture and the spying and so on. (and it can happen on a blog as well)
It's very complicated, isn't it? No easy answers. We have a lot to tease out here. That's why it's helpful to do this as a group.
I'm throwing ideas out - to be discussed. In some cases we have people trying to disrupt things. But mostly people here are moving things forward, either by extending the ideas or finding ways to help clarify things.
So, like the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, who worked cooperatively as a group but also, as a group, they were thinking outside the box, outside the limits of English law. You've exactly pointed out, right here, what I was trying to say there.
Very complex. That's kind of why I like the theory and find it useful. Because it poses opposites. It is cumulative. And as we get further along in development, we have access to these earlier issues. We can empathize with people at those stages and try to help them along. We can see problems - and tease out the complexity of the problems.
This is a huge task! You, my dear, are well suited for it!!!
(I feel like we have a whole course going here!)
Thanks for your comments. :)

"This is a huge task."
I know you have no fear of great, big audacious tasks, old friend.
Indeed, this seems not so much like a blog as the initial steps toward a dissertation: "Investigation of a Relationship between the Maturity of a Society and the Quality of its Members' Lives".
And perhaps a book will follow: "Toward a more Mature Society in the United States".
Then your crowning achievement, the twenty volume "Maturity of Nations", which should keep you busy until you are about 110.
I am certainly enjoying the discussion and learning a little as it proceeds. Keep it up!
I just watched the Moyers Black interview. I'm posting my response here because this post is concerned with teaching vs. shaming, and that's the way I'm approaching the issues brought up by Black.
The overarching argument I hear from Black is this: the legal system is deliberately (and illegally) covering for the financial system because those within the legal system are afraid that the economic system would collapse if the people understood the true state of the financial system.
I understand Black's solution as this: the legal system ought to be as honest as possible and disclose 100% of the facts.
From the administration I hear this as the overarching argument: the financial system has already inflicted near terminal damage on the economic system; we are in triage mode: the state of the banks is nowhere near as important--right this minute--as the state of employment. What good is the right people running banks if 20% of workers are without jobs?
I understand the administration's solution as this: the legal system must reset the operations of the financial system, but not its structure. The structure will reshape itself over time as regulation settles in.
Are these two positions reconcilable?
The most black and white issue seems to be the criminal charges Black levels against the legal system. No one within the legal system is above the legal system, he essentially says. And he's right. To argue against that is to make John Yoo's case for the unitary executive branch, but apply it to the unitary treasury department.
As for the push to declare the banks insolvent, I'm not so sure. Has anyone in the administration or treasury said, "the banks are 100% solvent and we know that for sure."? Now maybe they act like the banks are solvent, but I haven't heard anyone say that, "the banks are independently solvent." So it looks like the administration may admit that the banks are independently insolvent, but through a virtual receivership, they are solvent enough.
What do I mean by virtual receivership? Well, if an ordinary receivership denotes a person "placed in the custodial responsibility for the property of others, including tangible and intangible assets and rights," then a virtual receivership would be that without calling it receivership. Is this not already reality? Are we just fighting to have it called receivership?
These aren't rhetorical questions. I really don't know. I'm asking.......

somehow my response posted below. I fear it's hard to make a teachable moment of this. But I tried to at least give a metaphor of what you'd do if it were hospital.
Fessing up. That, to me, is the only solution. The truth. And facing the music for many thieves. What is society if we throw away the rule-book for some? And put so many others in jail to a percentage far surpassing the rest of the world?
A dark business. Evil exists. And they are saying that the end justifies the means. That's the problem. It's a logical fallacy. Lunacy! Lack of accommodating to reality! Stuck at a stage of "the dog ate my homework." Concrete operations? Paging AdAbsurdum!
Hahahahahah!!! I hear you. The administration likes to call it pragmatism. But pragmatism does not rule out the ends justifying the means.
Like Black says, "This is fraud." I think that's a really solid way to put it. If the structure and the people within the structure cause the fraud and the fraud causes the collapse, why try to reinforce the structure and those people? I get that.
I guess my only point left is the one below. Maybe that's part of the Vision Quest. Let's just call it a receivership and ask for a stronger one. Who's going to panic if the truth is that we've been in receivership for months already. I mean, if that's the biggest fear, like Black says it is, then what's there to be afraid of?
Right. Clearly the only thing for them to fear is fear itself. And that appears to be driving policy! (now that is scary!)
I'm taking a break too.
Torturers who "don't torture".
And receivership by another name.
Hmmmmm...... I was hoping, as I read down the comment, that you were going to come up with a way to make lemonade from lemons. Or perhaps it would be to make "something" from "crooked deeds."
Seems like we've got the same argument going on two fronts. One is war crimes - inflicting damage on humans from other countries. The other is economic crimes - inflicting damage on ourselves and others too - and the whole world.
If this were a patient and the patient was in very dire straits, would we conceal the truth? I doubt it. They are treating us like children, unable to bear the truth. Unable to face facts. It is a dark business. And the oligarchs have decided to keep it away from the light. It will end badly, I fear.
Consider a hospital with a terrible hospital-induced infection raging. Consider if all they do is treat the patients who have contracted the infection and might spread it. And they determine to keep the whole thing hidden, except to treat the patients who are sick. And their plan is to clean the whole structure down the road.... to disinfect the entire hospital and redo infection control rules down the road.... Meanwhile.... something is wrong with this picture!
It will end badly!
They have seized the "ring" that should have been thrown into the fire and destroyed.
Very good points. Enhanced economic strategies. I accept the analogue. I also accept the parallel infection scenario.
All of it is like telling a child that their dead parent is going on a long vacation.
So, we have a virtual receivership then. Shouldn't the question be re-framed? Instead of "Should we put the banks in receivership?" Wouldn't it be more productive to ask, "Should we strengthen the form of receivership in which the banks already are?"
My comment ended up below again.... sabotage??? :)
So, we have a virtual receivership then. Shouldn't the question be re-framed? Instead of "Should we put the banks in receivership?" Wouldn't it be more productive to ask, "Should we strengthen the form of receivership in which the banks already are?"
And the answer to this one is: yes. It will take at least a few more steps though. In particular, we have to come up with some kind of sensible valuation of bank-like-institution assets, which also requires much more thorough auditing, in order to figure out which ones are insolvent. (This is probably anywhere from "many" to "most", but since it might not be "all", it is important to make sure any given one is / isn't.)
Barefooted makes a very valid point. It really is easier to trust as well as understand the known more so than the unknown. Understanding requires the empathy you speak of but trust more often than not requires a leap of faith. Especially if you're faced with the unknown. To many, faith isn't considered rational. How does one successfully integrate faith and reason, or can it be done? I don't mean faith in the religious sense but a belief in the unknown. An example being, having faith in someone you have never met.
Sometimes circumstances will dictate who you trust and not trust. Say for an example you're in a car accident. An unknown person stops to help. Do you trust that person not to cause further harm or do you send them away out of fear. More often than not, we assume that person really is there to offer us assistance and we accept and cooperate without question. Too often in everyday life under everyday circumstances, we loose that sense of faith in people.
Obviously, it's not wise to trust and accept everyone that comes along but it seems finding a balance is important.
Depends where you live. But I've had amazing help even in Chicago (never my home)... where I can get lost easily. 3 times it's happened. And 3 times help was offered and was trustworthy. (twice I was alone... once in the dark, going the wrong way on a one-way street; once with Mr. TheraP) A man changed a flat tire this winter - with his bare hands in freezing cold (near home).
There are many kind people in real life. I think the issue of trust is one that we resolve on the fly. Easier in person, I think.
Here's another interesting thing. Criminals "pick out" their victims. They've done studies where they show tapes to criminals - of people walking down the street. Who would they prey on? They pick the same people! So some people, in the way they present themselves, appear to be "sitting ducks" to experienced criminals. Scary! So there are ways that most of us are able to extend trust but at the same time appear autonomous or whatever unto ourselves - so that we are less likely to be preyed upon, more likely to stand up for ourselves.
But the first part of your response is part of my point. You trusted the people that gave you directions. How many times have you found yourself in situations where you didn't trust and why?
Trust is a difficult emotion and we rely or not rely on it using many different criteria under many different circumstances. A lot of those circumstances have to do with what we are comfortable with or familiar with. (known qualities) Even in an unkown area of a city, any city you can feel a certain sense of comfort or familiarity.
How do we get that sense of comfort with the unknown. To me that's the question barefoots post speaks to?
I use my intuition. What else do I have? Plus, for the most part I am extremely careful about where I go, how I go there, and so on.
Maybe if you're very focused on this particular question, you would do well to put up a blog and ask people what they do. Describe situations and so on.
That's what I'd encourage you to do. Put up a blog and ask the question. It relates to so many areas of life. And sadly, I'm thinking contractors, there are too many people today who are greedy and unscrupulous.

To be honest TheraP I wasn't really looking for a answer or making it personal. I was trying to make a point about how difficult is it to trust what we don't know. I'm not interested in a blog on the subject but thanks for the suggestion. Maybe another time.
Enhanced economic strategies
Honestly, what question to ask is beyond my ken. And I fear that's what they count on.... the fog of this whole melt-down.
It's very clear the key players are conducting a charade. But what to do?
Take a look at this:
If this succeeds, then it means the executive branch cannot be the unitary treasury. The Congress can't cede that responsibility.
In the hospital analogy, you have doctors caring for the patients. If the doctors revolt and insist that the hospital is not a safe place until it's cleaned up, then the administrators cannot play the shell game.
This is getting more sticky by the day. Already Elizabeth Warren has said she's not getting cooperation for the oversight her committee, empowered by congress to do that, needs in order to do the oversight.
Very, very bad business! We are on the Titanic. The iceberg has struck. No lifeboats are being lowered..... God forbid, that would tip off the passengers!

Now that is perfect!!! "No lifeboats are being lowered..... God forbid, that would tip off the passengers!" I can dig that!
Going to take some time with the article...
I come to the park and see this ride. It's the whirling carousel with the crayons on it.
When I get on, I see everyone drawing--some draw houses, some draw people--children, parents teachers groundskeepers and poets. Some draw windmills and water fountains. Some draw windows and sunlight. Everyone draws something. There's even a shadow that draws graffiti.
TheraP draws bridges and when she does it generates intense light and music.
The carousel gets bigger.
When we say goodnight, the stars are closer.
Gary, you're astounding. Every one of your comments is a gem, a little poem. (just thought I'd mention it)
That is really awesome.
Very touching.... :)
The fortune of a new found discovery from today, allows me to point to a promising location in the dung heap, where high value pearls an likely be found after some digging and sifting: OAIster - a searchable catalog from a multitude of digital resources, which reside within the deep web, presently not properly listed by major search engines.

  • Receiving an object from another person
    is a transaction.
  • The external worth of an exchanged object
    is determined by appraisal.
  • Its real value can only be assessed
    after its offered conveyance.
  • When the object exchanged is an idea,
    it is a creative action increasing quantity;
    the original owner does not surrender its possession.

What a find! The Pearl of Great Price! Thank you, PCA, for giving it away! Blessings. :-)
Two poetic comments in a row. One from tpmgary. Another from PCA!
Poetry in the thread!
Knowledge and play embrace.
Yes, I started out at world weary today. Lostboy’s blog made me sad about inhumanity’s contagion. And the TV Sunday shows made my skin crawl so I went out back to cut the old canes out of my Marionberrys and train up the new ones to the wire fence. I am late to the tending and the leafbuds have already popped from the canes. I lost a few.
The berry canes would not cooperate - thorns and thorns and thorns biting through my sleeves and gloves. Mean thorns, like trolls. I think: blasphemous, diabolical, extremist, fascist, irreligious, racist, sexist, sinful, subversive, un-American thorns! Gods, this isn’t working. This variety of berry has a very bad reputation for thorniness but I reluctantly admit to myself that the thorns must have purpose even though they hurt. So I stopped fighting the canes and made loops of them (like in a human fingerprint) and I was accommodated. My dogs had been getting anxious just watching me and were relieved I calmed down.
And I trust that by mid July the berries will be filled with a deep reddish-black glow and generously sweet liquid and will make excellent jam and smoothies, and so are quite worth the tending.
Then I go to the compost bin where red worms are thriving inside of eggshells and coffeegrounds, broccoli butts and tomato tops turned into microbes. I usually forget to crush the halved eggshells but I see now they make good provisional worm homes. I spread the little wigglers and their poopiness onto the ground around my relatively laid-back blueberry bushes.
Today we had FIRST WARM SUN, today, sun, warm sun in our sky from the east of Here, To Day. And then my neighbor leans over the fence holding a bottle of beer and laughs at my labor, so I light up and we chat awhile about our gardens. We’ve been passing produce back and forth over that fence for years.

My reply is below. :)
This is nice story about a spring morning.
Nice to have a garden and a neighbor. ha
What a beautiful description of your early morning, stratofrog! And a lovely beginning to mine - having this here to read! :)
This would make a lovely blog in itself! Thank you so much for posting this here. (I particularly loved the rant about the thorns! Which makes me wonder if swearing or rage is part of stage 2 as well....)
I look forward to more "Garden Tales" - you should do occasional blogs on this. (start with this one!)
Thank you for your very kind words TheraP, but I was trying to add my “teaching tale” to this discussion. It wasn’t my intent to do a blog.
Among other things, I was trying to say that the ideological exclusionary categories are something we have to work with. But trust and cooperation go a long way toward accommodation. Guess this one didn’t work to well. Oh well, keep on truckin’ as they say… I love this thread you started.
Your comment was lovely. :)

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