As I see it, the only way to map a road towards a better society is to start from the fundamentals of humanity.
What would be the most basic fundamental of humanity? It would be some sort of purpose which could encompass all individuals as well as humanity as a whole, i.e. not a specific individual goal like, “I want to become an astronaut!” but something more basic. I see it simply as:
The purpose of life as a humanity may be stated as:
We all serve that which, and those whom we care about, in the best manner we see fit.
From this we get a natural corollary.
Life becomes thwarted by those who or that which attempts to dictate to others whom and how they must serve.
Of course if this premise is wrong, any further road-mapping would be wrong also. But I have very good reasons to believe the above is right.
Philosophers, sages, wise men and prophets from ancient times forward have stated symbolically, allegorically or directly something to the tune of love is the basis of life.
In his new best-selling book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Dr. Eben Alexander, author and academic neurosurgeon who served at Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Boston Children’s Hospital, makes this observation:
“Love is, without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard-to-fathom kind of love but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows—the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and children, or even our animals. In its purest and most powerful form, this love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or that ever will exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it, and embody it in all of their actions.”
I can attest to this because no matter how grumpy I am, ALL goes away when I look at my little baby girl and she gives me that beautiful lovely smile.
The Bible contains similar messages such as from: 1 John 4:16 (CEB)
“We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.”
And this one: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
The Buddha is attributed to have said: (SN 45.2)
“Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”
From the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu:
“All the world says to me: Great as Tao is, it resembles no form.
Because it is great, therefore it resembles no description. If it resembled any description it would have long since become small.
I have three treasures, which I hold and keep safe: The first is called love; The second is called moderation; The third is called not venturing to go ahead of the world.
Being loving, one can be brave; Being moderate, one can be ample; Not venturing to go ahead of the world, one can be the chief of all officials.
Instead of love, one has only bravery; Instead of moderation, one has only amplitude; Instead of keeping behind, one goes ahead: These lead to nothing but death.
For he who fights with love will win the battle; He who defends with love will be secure. Heaven will save him, and protect him with love.”
Please note the last sentence. Here’s a passage written 2,500 years ago that scarily reminds me of the words of both Jesus and The Buddha.
FUNDAMENTALS OF REALITY
To take the basic fundamental of humanity and now develop a theory around it towards building a constructive society, we must first examine the fundamentals in reality itself. To bridge into that subject I’d like to use a phrase that is popularly attributed to the Babylonian Talmud, though an exact reference to the original has not been nailed down:
“We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way WE are.”
Regardless of who or where this was first stated, this concept is OLD. A similar adage comes from the Ashtavakra Gita (11th verse of Chapter 1) also written about 2,500 years ago.
“It is true what they say: You are what you think. If you think you are bound you are bound. If you think you are free you are free.”
The Bible [Proverbs 23:7 Amplified Bible] concisely echoes the same concept:
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is.”
This idea is the common denominator from which virtually every serious philosophy and spititual movement throughout time can be reduced to. When it is followed one becomes the master of one’s own destiny. One is no longer the effect of circumstances outside of his or her own control. One is no longer the victim of external circumstances.
When this is realized it can perhaps explain popular notions of attainment of nirvana, enlightenment, the “Kingdom of God”, or as countless popular psychology/philosophy self-help groups have put it, “self-realization.” Perhaps one reaches nirvana when one recognizes it resides within. Perhaps one attains enlightenment when one sees that it is all about how one thinks. Perhaps one enters into the “Kingdom of God” when one recognizes that realm is within one’s own heart. One is “self-realized” when one realizes that one is what one thinks.
As humans use language to conceptualize, communicate and understand, all of humanity requires some degree or level of explanation to appreciate the power that comes with realizing the simplicity that “you are what you think.” Therefore spiritual and religious rituals and doctrines, “The Way” and mythology and related attention-focusing practices and philosophies fueled by glimpses of this truth can be seen everywhere in society. Countless practices exist to bring us to the point of recognition of the seeming magic that comes with the simple truth that you are what you think.
So powerful is the recognition of this most fundamental truth that the attempted monopolization of it has made inestimable riches for priests, leaders, ecclesiastics and leaders of every type. A close analysis of any one of these proprietary “my way or the highway” methods invariably exposes a common defect.
This defect is fatal to the accomplishment of the truth each of these routes professes to lead to. This defect is directly related to the attempted monopolization of the truth.
The defect without exception comes with attempted proprietorship of the truth.
The defect is that submission or yielding to the judgment of the proprietor and his creations (priests, leaders, practitioners, institutions, rituals, beliefs) – whether openly required or not. This exact deference ceases or prohibits attainment or realization of the truth the proprietor capitalizes on.
Once one is led to believe that the realization’s continued existence depends on some relationship external to simply self, the truth no longer delivers.
Virtually any practice or “-ism” that openly or covertly requires continued membership, obligation, participation, abstention from other practices or beliefs, becomes a curse to truth itself and all of the benefiting achievements that spring from it.
Let’s take a look at this subject of reality a bit closer.
There is an external world and that is its own reality. Then each and every one of us has our own reality formed through data, knowledge, experience and observation, none of which can be said to be “wrong”. Medically you could perhaps deem an insane or very irrational person’s reality as “wrong” but even in this person’s case, whatever is in his or her mind, is probably fully real to him or her.
Relative reality between people seems to be more about agreement or lack of agreement rather than absolute rights and wrongs. Integrity has a lot to do with sticking up for what you believe in, or believe is right. It is based on your own reality and moral and ethical adjudications of such. Therefore, to keep ones integrity one probably should stick to what one finds is real to him or her, according to his or her own observation, even if someone else finds it “wrong”.
Changing one’s own reality would include one’s own observation, experience or acquisition of new data – not because somebody else said it was wrong, though that can be a signpost to look for further data. (I wrote an expanded article on reality you can find here.)
Walter Lippmann made some astute comments on the subject of reality. Among many things he stated:
“When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute.” “We are all captives of the picture in our head – our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.”“The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.”
From all this we can deduce that any system that forces or imposes what an individual’s reality should or must be, is a destructive society. Any society which promulgates individual’s free will, free truth and free reality is a constructive society.
This simple statement however doesn’t of course take into consideration any and all problems that occur in a society when realities and truths are different, individual to individual.
Therefore, some system of “right” and “wrong” would seem a necessity.
Inevitably, in a society with a high level of free will and different individual’s realities, conflict will arise. One way to prevent this has been the establishment of moral codes. I dare say this is not the best way. This is why:
MORALS AND ETHICS
Morals are a codification of things which man has discovered to be bad for himself and for others at some time in his past, and, having discovered that these things were inhibitive to his own survival, he then made a law about them. It was often an arbitrary law. For example, he observed that eating pig meat often made people sick to their stomach. He didn’t know why. After observing this enough times, he “knew” that eating pig meat was inhibitive to survival, so therefore he made a law about it. Morals could be defined as a code of good conduct laid down out of the experience of a society to serve as a uniform yardstick for the conduct of individuals and groups.
The origin of a moral code comes about when it is discovered through actual experience that some act is not survival. The prohibition of this act then enters into the customs of the people and may eventually become a law. But before it was made into law it was enforced by superstition or just plain belief that it ought to be just so and that was a moral.
The moral is not necessarily based upon reason, honesty, good behavior or anything else. It is based upon the fact that something at some point in the past has been inhibitive to survival, and, the powers that be at that time and their successors adjudicated that it ought to be impressed upon people that they shouldn’t do this something. So they say, “If you do this, something bad will happen to you.” But they don’t explain what is bad about it, they just say, “Don’t do it. It’s immoral!” And that ends the whole argument, because if you do something immoral, then the gods or devil are going to get you or something is going to happen – bad.
The whole taboo system is simply that. If you want to examine any moral code, you can trace it down to its reason why this moral became a taboo, and you will find exactly how this action inhibited survival. There was more pain in it than there was pleasure, and therefore it was immoral. Sometimes the action was apparently pleasurable but experience had demonstrated to them that the apparently pleasurable action actually contained much more pain and destructiveness than it did pleasure. Therefore it was immoral. Take pretty much any moral code and you’ll find that this reasoning was at its basis.
Something which is ethical is a reasonable or a reasoning action or a reasoning behavior which promotes maximum survival for the maximum amount of factors concerned in it. Ethics relate to survival, but not just for self, but for every other factor in life, including but not limited to your family, friends, city, nation, etc.
If an action means survival for just the person itself but is detrimental to everyone else it becomes unethical because all other factors are being harmed. The American Constitution includes a concept to this effect: it is for the greater good of the greater number of people. That is ethics. It has nothing to do with moral codes. It is what is reasonable and by “reasonable” is meant the maximum amount of survival for the maximum number concerned in the problem.
When we speak of ethics, we are talking about right and wrong conduct. We are talking about good and evil. It is unlikely that any absolute right (good) or absolute wrong (evil) exist as any given circumstance can have an almost infinity amount of factors. Good can be considered to be a constructive survival action.
It happens that no construction can take place without some small destruction, just as the old tenement must be torn down to make room for the new apartment building. Good is survival. Good is being more right than one is wrong. Good is being more successful than one is unsuccessful, along constructive lines. To be good, something must contribute to the individual, to his family, his children, his group, mankind, etc. To be good, a thing must contain construction which outweighs the destruction it contains.
Something ethical might actually include the destruction of one or two people, if it meant the survival of hundreds or thousands of people. Construction is good when it promotes survival. Construction is evil when it inhibits survival. Destruction is good when it enhances survival.
Ethical conduct does however include the adherence to the moral codes of the society in which we live. Robbing and theft are of course completely unethical as well as unlawful and immoral, because stealing something very seldom enhances anybody’s survival, even one’s own.
A typical teenager grows up in a high school of the modern world. Nobody teaches him anything about ethics. Nobody tells him anything about his own survival or his responsibility to the community or himself or anything else. Somebody comes along and tells him that something or another is “immoral,” and he “mustn’t do it because it’s wicked!” And he of course says, “Gotta try that right away!” They don’t give him any reason. They say, “This is against the law,” or they say, “This is immoral,” and that is the end of it. Nobody is asking him to think about it. They are just telling him that “this is immoral and it’s wicked and bad!” And pending on where he is raised they might tell him something he probably can’t believe or think with. They might say something to this effect, “You’ll go to hell if you do this!” And he says, “I wonder where hell is? Is it real? How do you get there?” In other words, he is completely unimpressed. And by being enforced upon without reason, he becomes unreasonable himself. He is being restrained by something he cannot understand.
UNREASONABLE MORAL CODES
In the absence of extended reasoning powers, moral codes, so long as they provide better survival for their group, are a vital and necessary part of any culture. However, it is my observation that many of the moral codes in the society today are defunct, and yet they are still in force. They have lost any reason for being, but they are still in force. And people recognize that these are no longer valid rules of conduct, and recognizing they are not valid rules of conduct, they say, “Why should we have anything to do with them?” But the second they say this, somebody will come along telling them that they are now immoral and should go to hell…
This practice in itself actually makes people bad. The end result of an arbitrary code or law or rule is to make people bad; it makes make them antisocial! Let’s look at sexual morality. Sexual morality in most cases came about to safeguard parenthood or to keep the home inviolate. It possibly came about because one of the seven plagues of Egypt was venereal disease and a lot of people, when they got out of Egypt, were pretty bad off. And they didn’t have anybody down the street with penicillin shots to help them out. There was no cure, except abstinence. So the fathers of the tribes said, “Sex is wicked. No more sex. Women have to be virgins at marriage!” They had no clue how to handle venereal diseases so their only option was to enforce a lot of prohibition. And God help us, three thousand years later — with penicillin, antibiotics, sulfanilamide and all the rest of it — we still have enforced sexual morality. I’m not arguing in favor of sexual immorality or promiscuity, but to tell some young girl that she is forevermore lost to mankind because somebody seduced her is a bit over the top.
Just go into some high school in many countries and start questioning the girls on the subject of sex. You will find out that many of them consider themselves utterly lost, bad, with something horrible they have to hide for the rest of their lives. This can permanently inhibit them on the subject.
Many moral codes of yesteryear were tailor-made for a specific individual and then applied to the group as a whole. By the way, I’m not trying to slam religion, because religion doesn’t happen to be much the source of it. It is the tribe or clan, the group and later the society itself that have created morality and immorality. It just happens that it is easily enforced on the religious and dogmatic lines.
Morality was an effort to first make the group survive and then later on became an effort to control the group which in effect only resulted in inhibiting them and restraining them. I will argue that these consequences were/are not always unintentional…
JUSTICE AND CRIMINALITY
Some justice is necessary in a society as a small portion of the population is indeed criminally inclined with a seemingly inborn antisocial behavior and an even smaller portion consists of pure psychopaths and sociopaths. Martha Stout covers this brilliantly in her book The Sociopath Next Door.
Some justice system ought to be in place to protect the individual and his freedoms. Individual rights were not originated to protect the criminals, but rather to bring freedom to honest people. However, into this system of protection of freedom, individuals of very questionable activities and intentions started to lobby for their “individual liberty”. And the system in most part of the world today has evolved into one which often protects the real criminal while curtailing liberty and freedom for the honest man.
Only the criminally inclined desire a society in which the criminal is free to do as he pleases. Many laws have been written to protect man – laws which are good and sensible. But the criminally inclined will twist a law, no matter how well formulated it is. Freedom for man does not mean freedom to injure man. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to harm by lies, etc., etc.
To restrain such impulses the tribe, group and society implemented some form of justice system. Justice could be considered the adjudication of the relative rightness or wrongness of a decision or an action. A justice system must include a ready, speedy and inexpensive means or the system itself will invite crime.
When an individual fails to conduct his affairs ethically and fails to follow the morals of the group, justice enters in. Justice is used when the individual’s own unethical conduct and destructive behavior begin to impinge too heavily on others. In a society run by criminals and controlled by incompetent politicians, the citizens tend to identify any justice action or symbol with oppression. They see “justice” as simply “injustice”. Hence the idea of justice and the very word itself carries a bad connotation in many places around the world.
A proper justice system should spot and take action when an individual fails to apply ethics to himself and follow the moral codes. At that point the society takes justice actions against him. Justice has as its basic intention and purpose the survival and welfare of those it serves. Justice would be used until a person’s own ethical conduct renders him fit company for his fellows. Justice in the hands of man however cannot always be trusted. In most societies the subject of ethics is not really taught and applied. Justice is however. Justice systems have long been used as a substitute for ethics systems. Instead of just using justice, the society should focus more on teaching man to become honest and straight; to go through life with a clean heart and with clean hands. If such systems were implemented far less justice would be needed.
Further information of this subject can be read in my full article here which also includes information about the rehabilitation of those who have become criminal or unethical.
Having established this much we soon realize that there must exist a system with which this can be learnt with invariable results. The modern schooling quality throughout the world could certainly stand some improvement. Therefore allow me some words on that subject before we continue to go over how to build a better society.
UNDERSTANDING BASICS AND FUNDAMENTALS
Basics are very, very important, but first of all one must learn how to think logically and critically in order to be absolutely sure of something fundamental. Thinking is not particularly hard to learn. The subject of thinking itself is rarely taught in schools. Much of it consists merely of comparing and relating a particular piece of data or information with the physical universe as it is known and observed. It is not necessarily what someone says it is, but what you see it is, according to your own eyes and observation.
The greatest ability of thinking is differentiation. Differentiation is the ability to tell the full difference between one person and another; one object and another. The opposite is identification which could be defined as the inability to evaluate differences in time, location, form, composition or importance. So long as one can differentiate, one is somewhat sane and logical.
To become certain, including a certainty in self, one must be able to confront something and observe it.
The truth in the observation is according to what is true for you – not what you are told is true. A very workable principle in most cases is that if it’s true for you, it is true.
Authoritarian schooling is the opposite of learning to think for yourself. Learning in such an environment is forced under threat or pressure of some form of punishment or failure. A student is stuffed with information which has not been nor is allowed to be individually evaluated by the student. Such a student will be “well informed” and “well educated” according to present-day standards, but, unfortunately, he may not be very successful in his chosen profession. Neither will he be able to advance within the science of that profession as he is trained to use existing and unevaluated (by himself) information only.
Do not make the mistake of criticizing something on the basis of whether or not it agrees with the opinions of someone else. The point which is pertinent is whether or not it agrees with your own opinion. Does it agree with what you think according to your own observations?
To apply a specific science you have to first study the available information and apply it exactly as stated. Based on your own observation in doing so you can then go ahead and form your own opinion. Study the subject with the purpose in mind of arriving at your own conclusions as to whether or not the tenets you have assimilated are correct and workable. Compare what you have learned with the known world around you. Seek for the reasons behind a manifestation – why this or that? Try to conceive the manner and in which direction the manifestation will likely proceed. Try to relate each piece of information you acquire to something concrete and observable. Only with these principles of education in mind can you become a truly educated individual – an individual who is educated to be able to apply, not just pass tests and get good exam results.
When it comes down to finding good people to hire, good grade scores are useful, but in the final analysis only those people who can DO will succeed in their profession. An excellent example of such a student is Bruce Lee. He studied many forms of martial arts and learned to apply each exactly. When he was fully proficient in each form, he evaluated all the information he had gained against what was workable for him. He discarded what wasn’t workable. Out of this practice he formed his own martial art form (Jeet Kune Do) which he became a true Master at.
It is interesting to note that much of his legacy involves more so the subject of how to think, rather than specific martial arts techniques and he stresses that you have to work out your own path and way – in perfect alignment with ancient Chinese Taoist wisdom distilled from the earliest writings of Lao Tzu (老子) in the Tao Te Ching (道德經) and going forward into the principles of Yin and Yang. Nobody can argue that Bruce Lee wasn’t a master of masters but he only became that by thinking for himself and evaluating and relating every piece of knowledge, experience and application against its workability according to his own observation.
SOCIETAL INFLUENCE OVER LEARNING
The whole subject of a science, as far as a student is concerned, is considered “good” or “bad” in direct ratio to his actual knowledge of it. It is up to a student to find out how precise the tools of the subject are. He should, before he starts to discuss, criticize or even attempt to improve on the data presented to him, find out for himself whether or not the mechanics of a science are as stated and whether or not it does what has been proposed for it.
The student should make up his mind about each thing that is taught in the school – the procedure, techniques, mechanics and theory. He should ask himself these questions: Does this piece of data exist? Is it true? Does it work? Will it produce the best possible results in the shortest amount of time?
There are two common ways a person ordinarily accepts things, neither of them very good. One is to accept a statement because “Authority” says it is true and must be accepted, and the other is by social pressure of agreement amongst other people. Social pressure of agreement is all too often the general public test for sanity or insanity. Suppose someone were to walk into a crowded room and suddenly point to the ceiling saying, “Oh, look! There’s a huge alien on the ceiling!” Everyone would look up, but no one else would see the alien. Finally someone would tell him so. “Oh, yes, there is!” he would declare, and become very angry when he found that no one would agree with him. If he continued to declare his belief in the existence of the alien, he would very soon find himself declared insane.
The basic concept of sanity, the way it is commonly viewed in this society, is whether or not a person agrees with everyone else. It is a very sloppy manner of accepting evidence, but all too often it is the primary means of assigning the label of sanity. And then of course the Rule of Authority: “Does Dr. J. Smith agree with your proposition? No? Then, of course, it cannot be true. Dr. Smith is an eminent authority in the field!” In modern society authoritarian teaching is attempting to impress upon the students that they must adjust to their environment and that he cannot or should not adjust the environment to him – that the map is the ALL regardless of the terrain. This is simply not the case. Tell that to Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Tesla and Einstein…
Man would have made an advance of exactly zero if following the “socially acceptable” had always been the only method of “testing” evidence. But every so often in history, there have been “rebels” who were not satisfied with the status quo of acceptable social opinion, and who tested a fact for themselves, observing and accepting the information of their observation, and then testing it again until they arrived at a new conclusion, regardless of social acceptance.
INTEGRITY OF KNOWING YOU DON’T KNOW
Knowing that you don’t know is a virtue. One can always know something about anything. It is a wise man who, faced with conflicting data, realizes that he knows at least one thing – that he doesn’t know.
Admitting that one doesn’t know is not a lesson in humbleness but one in wisdom. Integrity could be attributed to the person who knows what he knows and is fully aware of the fact that he knows this, and is fully aware of what he doesn’t know, and, who has the courage to say this is the case.
One major barrier to learning is thinking you know all about the subject already.
“To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect. To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.”
Lau Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)
EVALUATION OF DATA
Man has never known a great deal about that with which his mind is chiefly filled: Data.
What is data?
What is the evaluation of data?
Libraries are filled with tomes of books on various sciences which have taught its tenets to each generation of practitioners in the respective fields. The authoritarian method is mainly used, as can be verified by reading a few of the books on pretty much any subject. Within them is found, “Mr. So and So said…” The truly important thing is not that “So and So said” a thing, but: Is the data valuable? If it is valuable, how valuable is it?
One can roughly say that a datum [singular form of data] is only as valuable as it has been evaluated. A datum can be proved in ratio to whether it can be evaluated by comparison to other data, and its magnitude is established by how much other data it clarifies. A single datum is of little use unless it can be evaluated against another datum. Furthermore, the comparable datum must be of similar magnitude to that which it is being compared to.
Data is your data only so long as you have evaluated it. It can be your data by authority or it can be your own evaluated data. If it is your data by authority somebody has probably forced it upon you. Of course, if you asked a question of a man whom you thought knew his business and he gave you his answer, that datum was not forced upon you. But if you went away from him believing from then on that such a datum existed without taking the trouble to investigate the answer for yourself, you can’t be considered to have truly studied and evaluated that subject with full conceptual understanding resulting in successful application.
Much of education today is enforced information that the student has never been permitted to test, question or evaluate. This starts at a very early age. Literally, when you are given the good advice not to take anyone’s word for something without verifying for yourself, you are being asked to break a habit-pattern forced upon you since you were a child.
Test a piece of information for yourself and convince yourself whether or not it exists as truth. And if you find that it does exist, you will be comfortable thereafter; otherwise, you are likely to find an unresolved question which will itself undermine your ability to assimilate or practice anything in the line of that subject or science. Your mind will not perform on the subject as it should be.
This has little to do with IQ, inherent talent or ability. It has strictly to do with lack of understanding due to false information or misunderstood or unevaluated information. One could say though that intelligence as well as proper judgment are demonstrated by the ability to evaluate relative importances.
Therefore one could deduce that politics have a great deal to do with setting important priorities based on correctly evaluated data. Therefore pragmatism would be a very useful philosophy within politics as compared to a static ideology where the importances are dictated by the map, not the terrain.
For a much more in-depth look at the subject of learning and study and all its facets, please read the full article I wrote here.
INTELLIGENCE AND GENIUSES
As a group or society is as strong as its weakest members (as a rough rule of thumb) it may be worthwhile to study which qualities make up a strong, intelligent person who can lift up the quality of the group and society around him or her. A succinct summary of such qualities was published in a 1980’s edition of the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. As I agree 100% with its content, I’m republishing it here.
The world’s greatest geniuses have all had 24 personality characteristics in common – and you can develop the same traits in yourself, says an expert. “Most people have the mistaken idea that geniuses are born, not made…” declared clinical psychologist Dr. Alfred Barrios, founder and director of the Self-Programmed Control Center of Los Angeles and author of the book, TOWARDS GREATER FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS. Barros continues, “But if you look at the lives of the world’s greatest geniuses — like Edison, Socrates, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Einstein — you discover they all had 24 personality characteristics in common.” “These are traits that anyone can develop. It makes no difference how old you are, how much education you have, or what you have accomplished to date. Adopting these personality characteristics enables you to operate on a genius level.”
Here are the 24 characteristics Dr. Barrios lists which enable geniuses to come up with and develop new and fruitful ideas:
- DRIVE. Geniuses have a strong desire to work hard and long. They’re willing to give all they’ve got to a project. Develop your drive by focusing on your future success, and keep going.
- COURAGE. It takes courage to do things others consider impossible. Stop worrying what people will think if you are different.
- DEVOTION TO GOALS. Geniuses know what they want and go after it. Get control of your life and schedule. Have something specific to accomplish each day.
- KNOWLEDGE. Geniuses continually accumulate information. Never go to sleep at night without having learned at least one new thing that day. Read. And question people who know.
- HONESTY. Geniuses are frank, forthright and honest. Take the responsibility for things that go wrong. Be willing to admit, “I goofed”, and learn from your mistakes.
- OPTIMISM. Geniuses never doubt they will succeed. Deliberately focus your mind on something good coming up.
- ABILITY TO JUDGE. Try to understand the facts of a situation before you judge. Evaluate things on an open-minded, unprejudiced basis and be willing to change your mind.
- ENTHUSIASM. Geniuses are so excited about what they are doing, it encourages others to cooperate with them. Really believe that things will turn out well. Don’t hold back.
- WILLINGNESS TO TAKE CHANCES. Overcome your fear of failure. You won’t be afraid to take chances once you realize you can learn from your mistakes.
- DYNAMIC ENERGY. Don’t sit on your butt waiting for something good to happen. Be determined to make it happen.
- ENTERPRISE. Geniuses are opportunity seekers. Be willing to take on jobs others won’t touch. Never be afraid to try the unknown.
- PERSUASION. Geniuses know how to motivate people to help them get ahead. You’ll find it easy to be persuasive if you believe in what you’re doing.
- OUTGOINGNESS. I’ve found geniuses able to make friends easily and be easy on their friends. Be a ‘booster’, not someone who puts others down. That attitude will win you many valuable friends.
- ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE. Geniuses are able to effectively get their ideas across to others. Take every opportunity to explain your ideas to others.
- PATIENCE. Be patient with others most of the time, but always be impatient with yourself. Expect far more of yourself than of others.
- PERCEPTION. Geniuses have their mental radar working full time. Think more of others’ needs and wants than you do of your own.
- PERFECTIONISM. Geniuses cannot tolerate mediocrity, particularly in themselves. Never be easily satisfied with yourself. Always strive to do better.
- SENSE OF HUMOR. Be willing to laugh at your own expense. Don’t take offense when the joke is on you.
- VERSATILITY. The more things you learn to accomplish, the more confidence you will develop. Don’t shy away from new endeavors.
- ADAPTABILITY. Being flexible enables you to adapt to changing circumstances readily. Resist doing things the same old way. Be willing to consider new options.
- CURIOSITY. An inquisitive, curious mind will help you seek out new information. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know it all. Always ask questions about things you don’t understand.
- INDIVIDUALISM. Do things the way you think they should be done, without fearing somebody’s disapproval.
- IDEALISM. Keep your feet on the ground — but have your head in the clouds. Strive to achieve great things, not just for yourself, but for the betterment of mankind.
- IMAGINATION. Geniuses know how to think in new combinations, see things from a different perspective, than anyone else. Unclutter your mental environment to develop this type of imagination. Give yourself time each day to daydream, to fantasize, to drift into a dreamy inner life the way you did as a child.
To distill these qualities even further I once again have to embrace the words of Lau Tzu:
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Lau Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)
Why are there currently no political parties or a political system which bases its politics or structure on pragmatic common sense as opposed to an ideology?
Most people seem inclined to belong to an –ism or -cy. There are many fancy names for these -isms and -cies. Capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, democracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, monocracy, theocracy, anarchism and the list continues ad infinitum.
I am yet to witness any one of these –isms or –cies resulting in a ne plus ultra utopia of perfection and happiness or even closely approaching this. Each country or society has a myriad of different situations, which are all constantly in a state of flux. Hence no premeditated system will tackle these situations in an optimum fashion; nor will a premeditated system apply equally to all countries or societies as their situations and conditions are drastically different. One could then deduce that an absolute ideology couldn’t be the most optimum way to govern a country or society.
But apparently this is a way too simplistic of an approach to look at things judging from the pure lack of any other alternatives present in the real world. (Okay anarchists and Free-Worlders, I know you’ve got some alternate ideas here, but unfortunately you are so far limited to mainly online discussion groups…)
What if we had a political system utterly bereft of any ideology and was simply based on pragmatic common sense for the greater good of that country or region? What if we had a political party or system which stated that they were neither left or right or “in the middle” or liberal or conservative or red or blue or yellow or green, or, or, or…
What if we had a political system that simply looked over the existing scene in that country or society and forged a political program specifically tailored to resolving the issues and problems present in that society and region, while enforcing those aspects that were already positive and tackling those that weren’t?
And doing so without having to stray from their ideology and loose face or seem contradictory and all other awkwardness that stem from having to stick to an ideology in a society where that ideology (or parts of it) truly isn’t the best for that society, at least at that time and during those circumstances.
We see this all over the world right now. To my knowledge there isn’t one country which applies the communist manifesto by Karl Marx to the letter, or shall I say, even a remotely close approximation. Nope, Cuba doesn’t really either despite how popular it is among communists to state such. Take the Special Economic Zones in China for example, like Shenzhen or Guangzhou. Here you have cities or zones in a “communistic” country that are more capitalistic than Wall Street itself. An example of this can be found here: Link 1. Or take the capitalistic center of the world – the United States of America. Well, they have labor unions and the way they operate within the system is sometimes more communistic (in principle) than what is being done in mother Russia. Some examples can be found here: Link 2.
Another good example is from my homeland Sweden. Sweden has traditionally been divided between left-wing parties and right-wing parties with a few smaller fringe parties. For the longest time we had 2 left-wing parties consisting of the Social democrats and moderately communistic party, though they prefer to call themselves “Left” after the word “communism” fell out of fashion after 1989. On the right you have 3 parties whereby one was strongly right-wing conservative with two others being more liberal and middle-ground.
Today you also have a green party which is currently towards the left side but can swing in all kinds of directions pending on which alliance it believes it can benefit from being part of. This party can be as confusing to understand as their political representatives are…
You also have the Sweden Democrats (SD) which is a fairly new party currently causing quite a bit of controversy in Sweden as one of their main political stances is to drastically reduce immigration, especially asylum seekers, and of course their dubious origins from neo-Nazi groups during the 80’s. The SD party is popularly referred to (by the opposition) as a right-wing extremist party. But in reality their politics has flavors from both left and right and is in many aspects a conservative social-democratic nationalist party.
The current poll shows that SD currently has a fairly latge support of the Swedish population with almost 25% of the votes in Aug 2015 Link 4. So how come roughly every 1 out of 4 Swedish voters supports a political party which is against taking in immigrants and has some definite racist backgrounds?
I can’t purport to have the full answer but I do have a theory which is based on the exact problems I laid out above. Between 2006 – 2014 Sweden has been run by a right-wing alliance. Prior to this it was run by a left-wing alliance. Since September 2014 Sweden again has a left-wing alliance, though from December 2014 the left- and right-wing parties formed an alliance called “DÖ” (DecemberÖverenskommelsen – December Agreement) to take a stance against the only real opposition party, SD, as SD warned it will sack any budget that doesn’t align with their own goals.
Though the left and right sides differ in many aspects, they both have been very open and liberal in regards to letting immigrants and refugees come to Sweden, especially since the right-wing alliance took over in 2006. So much so that since the 60’s millions of immigrants and refugees have come to Sweden, a country that not so long ago had about the same number of people as the city of Hong Kong in total.
Now if you have 2 million immigrants/refugees or foreign-born individuals in a country of 9 million, it requires a tremendous integration system to make this all work out, and that is where the political systems, left-wing as well as right-wing have failed. I could write a book on the subject but it boils down to one basic factor – the amount of especially asylum seekers making the total number of granted residence permits in Sweden an average of about 100,000 new ones a year.
To integrate this many people into a society already short of social and economic resources is like dissolving salt in a glass of water, where the water is the resources and the salt the immigrants. The water can only dissolve so much salt and the rest falls to the bottom, where many are today, collecting in immigration-dense suburbs of the larger cities of Sweden. Social conflict is unavoidable.
This situation has resulted in a growing disaffection by voters with the major political parties. More and more people from both the left and the right are now supporting SD, some out of pure dissatisfaction, because SD is the only party which is in opposition to all the other ruling parties.
So why isn’t the ruling left-wing/right-wing alliance (DÖ) doing something more effective about this immigration/integration situation? Because, they have to stick to an ideology – both political as well as adhering to basic principles and values set in stone, even though those ideologies and values (in the present circumstances) are not necessarily the most beneficial or constructive to further the conditions of Sweden and many people see it as such. Maybe those ideologies and values were the best or at least good for a certain time and due to circumstances then.
So here we have a party which 30 years ago would have been unconditionally labeled “Nazi” and rejected by the majority and with a few sympathizers having secret meetings in outback hideaways. Now they are the biggest or at least third largest party in Sweden with roughly 19 – 25% voter support (pending on which public opinion research group is used.)
Had there been a party which operated on pragmatic common sense on the basis of what was best for Sweden considering the existing circumstances and conditions of all aspects of society, and, implemented a political program based on addressing and handling these, regardless of ideology, I bet this party would get the majority of votes and no more alliance would even be needed.
And even better, had this party/system been based on a free and open democratic way of voting where the public voted on major programs and decisions, possibly online, then a party/system that represented the people and was based on pragmatic common sense would surely be the majority party rather quickly in my opinion. But no such party exists, in Sweden or elsewhere that I know of.
Isn’t it time we change how we view politics and base it on common sense and pragmatic solutions instead of some ideology dreamed up over a hundred years ago when circumstances were utterly different than now?
STRUCTURES AND SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS – CONSIDERATIONS
This article isn’t an attempt to outline an entire party program, but lays out some basic and fundamental factors which I believe should be the foundation for a political system for a society.
As questions may come up such as, “But what do we do about the patriarchy structure in the society?” or, “What about the structural racism?”
Well, in my way of looking at these types of structures they are not real structures but mere constructs of men (no I mean people, not a male…) to explain certain behavior in the society. These constructs may be very real and may be able to be mapped out into common patterns. But they are still constructs in the minds of men.
Structures in society have a tendency to be explained and be surrounded by books and books of theory as to their make-up and impact on the society. These constructs can be observed from the point of view of having adopted the construct itself, but you must first adopt the construct.
But to adopt a construct and make rules for it or about it as a means to “handle” those problems which the construct purports to create, only further constructs and conflicts are created…
Aristotelian and Newtonian two-valued (black or white) philosophy and ideology have demonstrated to be somewhat essential to the forming of societal structures and constructs. Those views have been popular for a couple thousand years because they proved so workable in taming the wild, creating material comforts, and suppressing and killing competitors for those comforts. Aristotle and Newton were not only worshipped by scientists for centuries, their theories were ruthlessly enforced on society by the predominant Western church as it considered their theories “proved” that an anthropomorphic God was at the center of the universe who set the whole frenzied cosmos in motion. That binary thinking (black or white) remains a key part of social thinking to this date.
But a two-valued logic (black or white) contains a self-limiting construct in itself, as the majority of situations in life are neither black nor white but made up of numerous facets. Despite this very observable fact social theories tend to divide up factors in society in black or white.
“Good” and ”bad” and other such considerations have no other basis than opinion. They are simply a consideration, a thought, a construct of the mind based on the experiences and data available in that mind. Sure, books and laws can be written about the subject, but they are still constructs – a physical piece of paper doesn’t make them any more “real”.
That brings us full circle to the beginning of this article – “It is true what they say: You are what you think. If you think you are bound you are bound. If you think you are free you are free.”
A construct or “structure” is what you think or consider it is and not what is. Many people can think and act according to the construct and make it “real” but it is only real as long as you consider it is.
I know that was deep, but at the same time simplicity itself…
This article only attempts to form some basic concepts around a more fundamental system in order to develop a workable, constructive and fruitful society for all to live in. More to come.